Oh, the elves are busy, but the Old Boy is probably taking a pre-season vacation down in South Florida, getting tanned and rested for his busy night soon to be upon us. So he'll probably head northward mid-week, just in time to arrive, check over all the plans and masterfully calculate how he is going to get all of that "stuff" in his bag on the sleigh. A miracle indeed that will be.
But seriously, folks, while we experience the magic and fantasy in the eyes of the children as they literally "bounce off the walls" in their excitement dreaming about next week this time, think about the magic of the same time frame over two thousand years ago. Mary and Joseph were getting ready for the arduous travel to Bethlehem to meet the edict of a tax census by reporting in person to Joseph's place of birth. The road from Nazareth to Bethlehem was a rough and rocky one with steep inclines, not an idea situation for a soon-to-be mother nearing her time of labor.
And think about what was going on in their minds, for they knew that Mary had been blessed by being picked by God to deliver the Child as a virgin, something that created much consternation for her in dealing with others. Many saw her as a child herself, now pregnant with a child out of wedlock, and they also couldn't understand why Joseph would become betrothed to her under such circumstances. Excepting very few, such as Cousin Elizabeth, a woman beyond normal childbearing age, women who had experienced her own miracle by giving birth to John the Baptist within the last year, no one really knew the truth.
Both Mary and Joseph knew that the Child she would soon bear was special, a gift from God, but they still couldn't fathom what that would mean to them as earthly parents. And they would later find that young Jesus was so smart and mentally mature at a young age that matters of authority were much different from His perspective. After all, he learned early just who He was and how He would be different from others. That was a lot for Him to take in at first and also a major task for the blessed husband and wife responsible for raising him to adulthood.
As we think about this situation, which will culminate with His birth in a manger and development into a human man and God at the same time, realize the sacrifice to which Mary and Joseph willingly committed. It was the task of serving as earthly parents to God's son until He was ready to carry out His ultimate mission for us. That task required undying faith and devotion, and they completed it just as expected despite many unintended twists and turns along the way. And it's that same faith that will see each of us through our own earthly trials and tribulations as well if we only believe.
So when Santa gets back from his little fun in the sun jaunt and makes his rounds next weekend, enjoy the celebration for which he provides a great backdrop for the real reason to celebrate. But never forget the power of the Christmas Story and the hope it provides for all of us. It means the greatest gift of all, the gift of Everlasting Life, and it's only available if we believe and follow Him.
Enjoy these special times and God bless you all.