Do you ever feel this way? Like you must be the worst parents ever?
Do you feel like you’re perpetually living a Plan B Christmas? Like NOTHING is going right?
Amazon was out of the Syma S107 Remote Control Helicopter so your child will probably have to be in therapy because they will be warped – devastated by disappointment, and labeled with a huge L.
You ran out of time, so instead of homemade cookies for the Christmas pageant reception you ran through Target to scoop up some store-bought ones, which actually took you an hour and 17 minutes (almost as long as it would have taken you to bake them).
Decorating the Christmas tree was supposed to be a fun family activity, but your 4-year-old swooped around the tree in his superman costume and knocked off two of the heirloom ornaments from your mother, breaking them into tiny pieces which the dog immediately ate. You’re still cleaning up glittery dog vomit.
You’re not alone.
Have you ever thought that maybe Mary and Joseph felt like the worst parents ever?
Trying to adapt to a Plan B life, they’ve absorbed the loss of a traditional wedding and “It’s a Wonderful Life” family.
Now they’ve had 9 months to adjust to the news that Mary is growing, you know… GOD in her womb, and like any expectant parents they’re probably nervous but preparing to do their best.
Maybe Joseph has made a cradle. Maybe Mary’s mom is ready to come and help out when the baby arrives. They probably have a PLAN for Pete’s sake!
I’m guessing that walking 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for the census was not part of their plan.
What do you think they felt as they traveled? Did their fear of the unknown come out sideways in anger or impatience with each other? Did their out-of-controlness in the big things cause them to be controlling with each other in the little things?
Maybe Mary figured that since she was carrying royalty, God would alert others in Bethlehem and someone would put her up in a beautiful home. Nope. Didn’t happen.
Did they hope that at least Plan B would include a modest room and a little privacy? No luck there either.
In the stable – stinky, dirty, crowded, what were they thinking? Were they feeling like the worst parents ever?
We can’t know the anguished labor pains that may have come from Mary, or the desperate pleas that Joseph may have given for help because they aren’t recorded.
Did they felt confidently carried in the will of God, or did they felt panicky, like when company shows up early and you’re not ready?
What we do know is this. They did what they could. They accepted the unexpected with commitment and creativity. And that’s all we can do as parents.
“Help” is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn’t matter how you pray–with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors. Years ago I wrote an essay that began, “Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.” – Anne Lamott
God is with you. In the dirty stable, or the bathroom or when you think you’re going to lose it with your mother-in-law.
You aren’t the worst parent ever. But you’re not the best parent ever either, because He is.