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.