The alarm went off this morning, and I really wanted to shut it off. I hit the snooze instead, and pushed the decision nine full minutes away. It screamed again, and I smacked it–this time forced to make the decision. Do I sleep in on a Sunday morning, or do I get up and go to church? I’d already made the choice to sleep through Sunday School. Now I was flirting with skipping the whole thing. But I got up. I wiped the crud from my eyes and took a long shower. It’s funny how long, hot showers are the worst thing you can do when you’re getting up way too early.
I dragged myself to church, and sat half asleep in the sixth pew–one farther back than normal. The pastor preached and my mind wandered. I imagined a church sanctuary with couches and lazy boys instead of pews. That would keep my butt from falling asleep. Of course I realized the rest of me would just fall asleep if I was stretched out in a lazy boy. The pastor went on about Emmanuel, expounding on the meaning of it, and trying to get us to understand the importance. I was thinking about the symmetry of the Christmas decorations.
But one thought did finally strike my mind so early this morning. It had nothing to do with the music, nothing to do with the sermon, and nothing to do with the choir’s number. My mind began to ponder the events of that first Christmas day, and I realized what actually happened. Mary and Joseph went to a stable. A dirty, smelly stable, full of straw, animals and dung. In that stable, Mary gave birth. She laid down in the pokey straw and slimy mud and screamed. Joseph delivered the baby, wiping the blood from the creator of the universe, and wrapping the King in rags. The tired mother finally breathed a sigh of relief. She held the child in her arms, and understood what it was all about. It wasn’t glamorous. There was no clean patch of hay with this well lit manger. It was dark and dirty.
That tiny baby, born in to such deplorable circumstances, came in to this world for us. That’s why I force myself to get up on Sunday mornings. And that’s why I force myself to get up every morning.