After chuckling over Kim’s frustrations, I shared my memories of the day over 29 years ago, which revealed the Ford moving gene as a study in positive packing. I flew into Edmonton the day before the truck would arrive for Brad’s cross-country move to Massachusetts. He had secured a job at a company in Norwood, MA where we would live after our wedding in July. Imagine my shock when I discovered that Brad had saved all the packing for that evening! He still maintains that we accomplished the necessary piling of goods into appropriate packages, moving his possessions in a patient and positive way. Even as I review this particular pre-wedding dilemma, my stress receptors hum, and my body vibrates with the need to vent growing exasperation. Clearly it seems that our moving methods present in very distinctive patterns; organization versus chaos from my perspective or annoying anxiety versus purposeful persistence from his point of view.
Brad and I made several more moves throughout the years of our marriage. Each one offered its own unique set of challenges, and each one revealed the constant contrasts in our “moving personalities.” Perhaps none so revealing as when we moved from Massachusetts to Virginia when I was 8 months pregnant with our second son, Christopher.
Every year during the days of Advent I marvel that Mary made one of the most significant moves of her life when she and Joseph made the journey to Bethlehem as she neared her time of giving birth. While I cannot pretend to know how she felt, how she wanted to have everything packed and prepared properly for her pending predicament; I know all too well what it requires to put your limited physical self in an unknown, unexpected, new place. She accompanied Joseph, who managed to pack the most important part of their household, the most powerful possession the two of them shared: their hope.
No matter how I look at the Christmas story, I will always hold immense admiration and commiseration for Mary, who after all was a woman about to give birth for the first time, and she found out that she also had to move with little time allowed for careful packing. Oh dear Mary, I can only imagine how loudly your stress receptors hummed, and yet how Joseph probably reassured you by his certain attitude that the move would proceed despite any obstacles.
Throughout the day as we helped with Don’s move it was heartwarming to see him respond to Kim’s looks of frustration or exhaustion. He would come over to hug her and I could see the visible renewing of energy that each hug provided for them..
I remember during that long ago move, Brad would say to me over and over again, “There will never be another year like this, we just have to get through it.” I wonder what did Joseph say to Mary as they travelled the dirty, bumpy road to Bethlehem? What shared phrases kept them hopeful, how many hugs did it take to revive their spirits? How much hope did they move??
A couple days later, we brought a meal over to Don and Kim to share in their new home. Not every box was unpacked, not everything was in its perfect place. But we joined in a blessing of the new home as we laughed together and planned for the Christmas season. Kim pointed to a picture of her parents on their wedding day sitting on a wall shelf. She asked if we would find a picture from our wedding that they could also display in their new home. I suppose these small reminders that loving relationships last over many years, will serve as symbols of hope to them as they begin their own commitment.
Mary and Joseph shared a stressful packing experience and a challenging journey toward their new home. They had no idea how it would all turn out, but they knew they were moving together following God’s guidance. They packed and they moved with hope.
It is my prayer that during this Advent season, I will remember to let new Hope move in, and just as unpacking continues at Don and Kim’s, may it continue in my heart as I try to unpack God’s guidance in my life. May I always find comfort and sanctuary at home with Him.