I sat snuggled up with my children last night watching The Nativity Story.  It has become an annual tradition for us.  Joseph is so often overlooked as we reflect on the birth of Christ yet he is indeed part of the story.  An honorable man who chose to stay with Mary, to adopt the Child who was not his despite the scorn he surely received from friends and family.  The Nativity Story does a good job of portraying the man of Joseph.  And while scripture does not offer many details about him we know he was a man and had emotions as does any man.  With some creative license we see some of the internal struggles Joseph may have had in taking on this role as Mary’s husband.

With some additional creative license we see Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem after dark.  Mary suddenly goes into labor and Joseph runs frantically from inn to inn seeking a place to stay, pleading with the owners as his wife is about to give birth.  We see Mary pray, ‘Lord, will you not provide for us?’ just as someone finally points and says ‘it’s all I can do.’  You then see Joseph carrying Mary past the animal, shooing them out of the way with his foot.

‘Lord will you not provide for us?’

He did provide.  He always provides.

But His provision for His only begotten Son, for the second Person of the trinity, for the Word made flesh, for the One who spoke all things into existence – was a lowly manger.

Of all the births that ever took place or will even take place, this one deserved a grand entrance.  This one deserved the best of everything.  Yet instead it received accommodations that were subpar even for that time.

And yet I (wicked, sinful, created being) have the nerve to grumble when God’s provision and accommodations in my life are not to my desired standard.

It had been building up for a while.  It started with an especially busy few weeks, resulting in my husband being away from home even more than usual.  The kids miss their dad, and his absence is felt.   I miss my husband, and needed that one-on-one time.  The stress accumulated, and came to a head this morning.

Trying to get everyone ready for a fun day at the beach (in the hopes that some outdoor activity would sweeten my sour mood a bit), I spend most of that time weeping.  Weeping while trying to get my son dressed.  Weeping while filling up water bottles.  Weeping as that sweet son gave me his mischievous smile, after I had told him to sit down to get his shoes on, letting me know he had no intention of obeying, and was ready for a game of chase.

Weeping over the horrible mom I had been the last few days.  Weeping that my kids deserve better.  Weeping that I was totally out of energy to do this mom thing.  Weeping over being tired of my children, and weeping because I knew I shouldn’t be tired of them.  Weeping that my husband wasn’t meeting my (unrealistic) expectations, and that these children were obeying like I want them to.

Lots and lots of weeping.

I’d like to give you a real spiritual conclusion, and say that I turned to my Lord.  I opened by Bible, laid my cares before Him, knowing He cares for me.  I wish I could say that I did the ‘spiritual” thing and put my trust in Him.  But, the truth is, I turned to self-pity.  I did cast up a prayer, in the midst of weeping, dripping with self-pity and complaining.  Had I turned to Christ in prayer first, I suspect I would not have been face down on my kitchen floor this morning, blubbering in front of my children.

I’d like to think I learned my lesson, but I know me too well.  I’ll be back in that place again.

My question to you is, where do you turn when you are at your wit’s end?

Plastic carrot filled with jelly beans…is it just me, or is this a bit ironic?