Challenge for today: Sing, “It’s beginning to look like Christmas,” preferably aloud, but if you must, in your head works, too.
Now, using the same tune, sing, “It’s the day before the day before Christmas.” Because that’s today. My mom believes the day before the day before Christmas is a holiday. Why else would she have awakened her kids singing that tune to her words every December 23rd?
Funny, how little things from childhood follow us throughout life. Every December 23rd, I wake supercharged, eager to pop out of bed and greet the day. It’s too bad that I can’t program my mind to think every morning is the start to the day before the day before Christmas.
I can’t help but wonder what the first day before the day before Christmas was like. Many scholars speculate on the true date of Jesus’ birth. Some say He was born in March, April, and May. Other experts claim that Christ was born in Bethlehem in August, September, or October.
None of the above support December 25th as Jesus’ actual birthdate. For one, shepherds did not keep watch over their sheep in the fields at night in winter.
For two, the census that took Joseph and Mary and many others from Nazareth to Bethlehem would not have been scheduled for a time of year when ice and harsh temperatures made for hazardous roads. Last I checked, donkeys are sturdy and reliable, but they don’t come with four-wheel drive.
The distance between Nazareth and Bethlehem is 70 miles. Give or take a mile, experts doubt Mary and Joseph could have covered more than 10 miles a day. I feel for any woman who is nine months pregnant and traveling via donkey anywhere, no matter the distance or time of year.
There is also this and that and when and why concerning how the planets and stars aligned to form a bright light. But I’m not going there. Bright stars in a midnight sky continue to amaze me, but my knowledge of astronomy begins and ends with stargazing, and I’m OK with that.
But we were talking about the day before the day before Christmas. Two days before Christ’s birth—if we consider what we know about the distance and travel time—Mary and Joseph had 20 to 30 miles to go before they settled in at the stable and gave birth.
I doubt Mary woke supercharged on the day before the day before Christmas. My guess is, at nine months along, she would have been happy to have slept a little longer. Thoughts of another long day bouncing down dirt roads on the back of a donkey could not have been encouraging—for Mary or the donkey.
On the cusp of the birth of her first child—a holy child—Mary must have felt a tad anxious. After all, experts believe she was a young teenager.
What we have here is a picture of a young, inexperienced, and very pregnant girl, weary from carrying the weight of her child after endless miles of travel.
Luke 1:46-48 reveals Mary’s thoughts while expecting her God-ordained child. She sang, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.”
Mary may have been tired on that first day before the day before Christmas, but her heart overflowed with faith and hope.
The date we think Jesus was born is not important. What is key is that God, in His perfect timing, sent His Son to be our savior. Without Merry CHRISTmas, there would be no happy holidays.
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