Monday, December 29, 2008

Blessings in the Stable

One of the things I love about the holidays is the old movies that play over and over again. I'm sitting here with The Sound of Music playing in the background... last week it was The Wizard of Oz, and sandwiched in between were many repeats of Bing Crosby's White Christmas.

Another of my favorite Bing movies is Bells of St. Mary's. He plays the coolest priest I've ever seen with that buttery voice and hat cocked to the side just-so. It was on TCM last week and I was grinning during the scene where a little first grade boy wrote his own Christmas play and was practicing it for the teachers. Part of me was grinning because the first grader looked and sounded exactly like my favorite little sassy britches:


And part of me was grinning at the simplicity of how they acted out the story. He'd repeatedly go to the inn keepers and be turned away... responding with a shrug of the shoulders and a report to Mary. And Mary, ever optimistic, kept telling Joseph that it was ok... they'd just try again. And oh! how excited they were when they found the lovely stable so they could rest.

I have to imagine the real scene was a lot more stressful and a little more dramatic, but I also have to believe that the people chosen to be parents to Christ probably were living with some pretty good perspective and were grateful for the place they were given.

I've done a lot of thinking about perspective and being grateful this week. Because try as we might, life is never going to be perfect and go just how we'd like it to. There is nowhere on Earth I'd rather be right now than at home with my family for my Aunt's funeral. And I'm sure there was nowhere on Earth Mary would have rather been than in a safe home with a roaring fire and a nursemaid to give birth to her son.

But she got three wisemen and a drummer boy and a supportive husband while they treasured their moments on a bed of hay. I got to have moments on the phone with mom when she could tell me about her experiences, and spend some time with them here on Christmas day and help with some details for the funeral Mass. I took my moment to pray the rosary when I knew they were praying at her wake and honored her the best way I knew how.

Mary and Joseph, while making the first home for their child in that stable, accepted where they were and recognized where they were going because they acknowledged their blessings instead of dwelling on their misfortunes.

So here's my challenge to all of you today: think back over the last week to a time when you felt like you were in a stable instead of the inn. And then look at that time again and see where God put a blessing in the hay for you. Because if there is one thing I've learned, it's that the blessing is always there if you take the time to look for it.


  1. Yep, only I was not in the hay, I felt like I was in the dirt. You are right...

    The blessing is not "the why" I felt that way, but the blessing will come due to changes that will be made. But a blessing it will be!

    Once again, your words ring true!

  2. @alece: let me know if you need a hand and I'll get my shovel to help you dig :)

    @coloradolady: sounds like a seriously rough time. "blessing will come due to the changes that will be made" ... great perspective.

  3. This is so good Gitz and so timely.
    I love the term: Blessing in the Hay...I think I'll use that to give me pause when I feel less than blessed.
    Love to you today~

  4. I was in the stable, always thinking about not having all my children around me for Chirstmas...but the "Blessing in the Hay" is that they were all safe and happy with their own families - which is what I really want for be safe, to be happy, to be loved, and to have someone to love.
    I was just having a little pitty party for myself! Going from 40 for Chirstmas to just 3 was a big jump for me, but I did okay. Lot's of phone calls with best wishes make everything "all better".
    My thoughts are with you and your family today.

  5. How about this morning? I was sitting here trying to erase that "feeling"and look for that silver lining... I'll be digging too. Thank you for the fresh perspective. Its very visual and easy to call to mind.

    I will be thinking of you and your family today too : )

  6. Our Christmas was less than perfect but still wonderfully improved from the past two years. I would have liked to have been able to help out more, but each bit of effort wore me down. Thankfully, my husband and daughter have paid close enough attention over the years to know how to take the reins.

    I can see the blessing in the hay this year. I dug hard the past two's getting easier to find. That's a blessing in itself.

    Love you, Gitz! I'm saying a prayer for you and your family.

  7. The craziness of Christmas, and all of our travels, and all of our sleep-overs at relatives' homes made me feel like I was on a merry-go-round all week. But my week was filled with love, family, happiness, and more blessings than I could count.
    I'm sorry that your family had to suffer a loss, and even more so that you couldn't be at "home" with your family this week. For Christmas, for the wake and funeral, for everything. Your spirit and optimism are such an inspiration to me. I wish you peace during this difficult time.

  8. I hear you guys... I think this time of year gets so crazy and hectic with expectations; and it's only when we stop to look that we find the good stuff in with all the crazy... and yes, I totally get having to dig for it. There are days I pull out my shovel to try to find the blessings too. But it's worth the effort; for me, even the digging feels better than sitting in the dirt.

  9. Gitz, "think back over the last week to a time when you felt like you were in a stable instead of the inn." Have you been peeking at my condo living room? :)

    Love is a blessing that we share with our family, and friends, when we think of them, or they think of us. How many miles we may be apart does not diminish this blessing.

    How much love we have to share depends on our hearts. It is easy to see, in reading your blog, that you have a very big heart.

  10. I LOVE that challenge. I'm writing that one down.

  11. You amaze me. Your heart and attitude are just amazing.