The Long Ride Home
Like Mary, we travel to “Dad’s side of the family” each Christmas. There are songs about heading to Grandma’s for Christmas because it is a trip full of anticipation and joyful hope. “Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go…” But I can’t think of any songs written about the ride home. Probably because the thoughts we’re having aren’t quite as lyrical:
- Honey, I’m sorry I said that to your sister.
- Did we forget the kids snow pants?
- I can’t believe the family did that.
- Oh, I ate too much this weekend!
- We’ll have to address “that thing” waiting for us when we get home.
- I hope the cats didn’t throw up while we were gone.
- Kids, you need to do your homework tomorrow!
- Mom, I’m car sick!
Advent is about ARRIVAL and includes time for ANTICIPATION. Then after Christmas our family experiences DEPARTURE, a time for EVACUATION. Mary and Joseph certainly had a time of departure. They took a long trip home to Egypt, with Jesus in hand. I’m sure they had a lot of conversation about their whole Christmas experience along the way: The gifts, the people, the mistakes, the surprises, the soldiers. It was a time to transition out of the “excitement” and into their new “normal” life as mom and dad, as husband and wife. The long ride home is an important transition. I need it to include freedom to put words to our joys, shortcomings, disappointments, worries, wonderings, priorities, and desires.
As we pull back into our own driveway, after our long ride home, I want to pray with my family:
To thank God for a new round of good memories.
To confess ways I contributed to some bad ones.
To pray for patience and strength to do the important unpacking of things, thoughts and dirty laundry.
To ask God for continued joy as our family carries Jesus back home with us.
God bless our departures from Bethlehem with the new presence of Jesus in our lives!
By Heidi Connors