Mary and Joseph stood around a lot

I spent about 10 percent of my childhood in church, so I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the hardships that Mary and Joseph encountered on their journey to Bethlehem.

I was aware of the social awkwardness there was from Mary?s pre-wedding pregnancy. I knew about the 70-some-mile walk that the couple had to endure to get to Bethlehem. I had been taught about Joseph?s stress in trying to locate an empty room.

However, I was never told about how much standing around they actually did.

This statement is based on an experience I had last Saturday night in the Hillsboro United Methodist Church?s live drive-through (no, we could not supersize that) nativity scene.

My girlfriend, Shelby, and I played the parts of Mary and Joseph, respectively, on their journey to Bethlehem.

I was actually fairly excited at the opportunity to be Joseph. But first Joseph had to get through The Dorm Room Shower Stall Obstacle Course of Doom. (The next six paragraphs have nothing to do with Christmas. Feel free to skip them.)

I?ve always been under the impression that guys generally don?t overly pay attention to their personal hygiene. Apparently for my mod, this statement does not hold true.

There are five guys sharing a single shower. I counted, and there are 16 bottles inside the shower. By my estimations, this is more than three bottles per person. Also, I am not counting the bar soap container and the two large poof-balls.

It?s not that I really have a problem with personal hygiene, but showers are notoriously known to not have large or accommodating shelving, so every time I attempt to move my own bottles, I begin a domino effect that eventually has half of the bottles on the floor.

I?m not really sure how girls?who have their body wash bottles, their shampoo bottles, their conditioner bottles, their face wash bottles, their moisturizing bottles and their extra-large pink poof-balls?even manage to get their actual selves into the shower.

I like to think they actually have two shower stalls: one to store their bottles and one to shower in.

However, this is beside the point. I did eventually make it out of the shower with only a few minor bruises before I went to the drive-by nativity. (And now, back to the Christmas stuff.)

I had always been under the impression that, while journeying to Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph did a lot of?call me a crazy radical here?walking. However, during our shifts, the most activity Shelby and I did was squinting when cars drove by with their headlights on.

Otherwise, we basically just stood there, looking a little chilly.

But all things considered, it really was a fun night. And with that event finished, I could look forward to the rest of the cherished holiday traditions that come about every December.

Some of my favorite holiday traditions come in the mail. Christmas letters, for example, are distant friends? and relatives? ways of trying to update you on their year, but ultimately either sound like they are bragging or throwing their own pity-party.

Often both:

?Dear friends,

?We wanted to take a little time out of our busy lives to wish you all a merry Christmas, and bring you up-to-date on what?s been going on in our lives.

?Our year started off just lovely, as Janie, 16, won the local Snow Queen beauty pageant. We are so proud of Janie. She got so much prize money that we were able to buy our brand-new dream home in Hawaii, and hire servants. We even have a personal servant for our dog, Snuffy.

?Little Billy, 6, fell off the third-floor balcony in our nine-acre backyard in April, and had to spend three months in the hospital for a fractured shoulder and broken legs. We?re not sure if he will ever be able to walk again. But that?s OK, because a publisher signed him to write a book about this experience.

?In September, Mom bought her very own 2009 sports utility vehicle with the money she earned from her guest appearance on Martha Stewart?s show. Mom taught Martha?they?re on a first-name basis now?her secret Double Chocolate Chip Fudge and Caramel Brownie recipe.

?While Mom was shooting for Martha?s show in August, Dad had surgery for his enlarged prostate. While doing patient history checking, by accident the hospital found that he was a co-conspirator in a plot to take down Hillary Clinton during one of her campaign trips. He was sentenced in November to two to six years in prison.

?We hope that you have had a good year, and are looking forward to hearing from you soon.

?Wishing you a blessed Christmas and a new year almost as good as our last, The Griswalds.?

My other favorite mailed holiday tradition is the greeting cards that come from businesses and services that one has used throughout the year.

These cards attempt to be festive while promoting their product:

?Tis that time of year again

When Holiday spirits entice.

So let us know if we can help

Exterminate your mice.

* * *

UFO: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was created for Mont?gomery Ward department stores.

Don?t ask why.

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