Several years ago a friend and I were two among many attendees at an appreciation dinner in mid-December. It was a lovely catered affair, a generous thanks for services offered.
My friend leaned over and uttered the words many of us felt: Can't you appreciate me in March?
This is indeed the most wonderful time of the year; it is without question the busiest time of the year. As I mentioned earlier, in a span of eight days we had eight events to attend. One day included a triple header -- a breakfast and two pageants with a three hour drive to the airport thrown in for good measure.
(Mind that whining, now! I learned my lesson this year. The morning of the triple header dawned, and John was running a fever. Sometimes the only thing more overwhelming than an over-the-top busy day is the challenge of cancelling the whole lot of it and caring for a sick one.)
As I sat at one of the eight events -- really, one of the nicest of the eight -- I sang Christmas carols and listened to the lyrics with fresh ears. As we launched into O Holy Night, I was particlularly struck by the line The Weary World Rejoices.
This was a gathering of about twenty women I dearly love. I very much look forward to this party. But -- lawdy, lawdy -- just getting there about killed me. I struck out on childcare for John and Ainsley, so I sent them to their pre-school instead -- to the tune of $40.00 out of pocket and roughly sixty minutes of driving. Ouch! Then my outfit didn't work. Then I ironed my hair into submission only to step out into a slight drizzle and see my ironing undone in a jiffy.
On top of that, we were supposed to arrive with prepared cookie dough so that we could all bake cookies together. Easy enough, right? I was missing one ingredient, so I dashed to a neighbor's to scrounge. The recipe called for butter; I substituted margarine. I didn't have raspberry preserves; strawberry would have to do. I mixed it all together and, wow, that lump of dough looked like it would produce about eight cookies.
I arrived almost on time. Hair? Frizzy. Outfit? Dull. Cookie dough? Slouching toward inadequate.
We began sining carols, and I hit the line: The weary world rejoices.
And I reflected on how the world has always been weary, most ages far, far wearier than our own. I thought of Mary -- pregnant and travelling and weary. I thought of Joseph -- burdened and worried and weary. I thought of the wise men -- weary, too.
A while back I read a post about the day after the celebration being the real celebration. The pressure's off. The deadlines have been met or missed. We stay in our jammies all day. We pull out the leftovers. We don't worry about the tablecloth or the candles. Heck, we might just eat straight from the serving dish.
The weary world rejoices.
At our house, this includes lots of hot chocolate.