The Big Day is technically over. For most, it ended when the hours wound down on Friday. But that is really only true for those telling Christmastime with a clock.
Christmas won’t really be over until the last of the overly rich food has been wolfed down, the dog has thrown up the half-digested fruitcake and Legos, and the final decoration is packed away. Say, oh, roughly another week.
It wasn’t like this when the Savior of the World was born. The Bible doesn’t say anything about the following day being a cause for celebration. If anything, it was a day of utter exhaustion.
Think you had it rough with all that shopping? When Jesus was born, his mother had only recently finished walking 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem while heavily pregnant.
Upon arrival, Mary was forced to bed down among animals. Being tuckered out, she probably didn’t care. But then it was Christmas and there was that rush to get the last bit of it finished. That’s when the labor pains set in.
Mercifully, I’ve never given birth. I’ve witnessed it enough times to know that it was right about then that Joseph began entertaining concerns for his life.
Doesn’t matter what Joseph was told by an angel before this. He almost certainly still possessed enough self-preservation to know that someone was going to pay for all that screaming and yelling, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be the angel.
Once the Lamb of God arrived, then came the cleanup. It’s one thing to walk 90 miles while pregnant, and another to haul a newborn back to Nazareth. And since Mary and Joseph couldn’t very well raise Jesus in a barn, they had to start looking for an apartment and a job in Bethlehem.
Things might have started to get better when the wise men stopped by with expensive gifts. Regardless of what Nativity scenes depict, Jesus would have been a toddler when the Magi arrived and made things worse.
While the gifts probably came in handy, the wise men did Jesus’ family no favors when they arrived and started asking about the birth of the King of the Jews.
The news put Herod the Greatly Horrible in a mood to start killing all children around age 2. So, Joseph and Mary took Jesus and fled to Egypt until Herod was dead from kidney failure that went downhill to gangrene of the genitalia.
Divine retribution, it seems, is not without a morbid sense of humor.
And you thought cleaning up after your Christmas this year was tough. No matter how expensive, aggravating or strenuous this one was, you’d be hard pressed to find a messier Christmas than the first one.
Now it’s out with the old and in with the new. Regardless of what you believe, Christmas is an excellent example of the human need to clean up and start anew.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.