If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I kinda sorta have a thing for Christmas 🙂 This holiday season just makes me so happy! Don’t get me wrong, I love all holidays, but there is something extra special about Christmas!
Each year I grow older, I find myself growing stronger in tradition and more mature in my intent. I remember the days of my youth when Christmas was about all I got. Recalling that time makes me cherish such a beautiful childhood, and makes me want to pay those memories forward to my own children. Then one year, there was a change. Christmas wasn’t so much about what I got, but rather about what I could give. I took great pride in the fact that I was working and could provide for my family and friends in a new and special way. These days though, this holiday is about so much more than what I can ever or get or even give to those I love. This year, it’s more about the time spent together with my husband and children and the memories being made that is bringing the absolute most Christmas joy!
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the presents and decorations, the cookies and the cards. Don’t get me wrong, I am still actively partaking in all of the above! But something in my heart this year is feeling a newfound empathy for Mary, the Mother of Jesus. I can’t help but think of this young girl in a whole new light. The Bible doesn’t state how old she was when she gave birth, but it’s believed she was young, a teen. Yeah, that would be the time in my life that I was still all about the getting! Think of this teenage girl instead GIVING us the greatest gift we could ever get!
I don’t hide the fact that I was a virgin who saved herself for her wedding night. I took great pride in that, and can’t even imagine how I would have handled an angel telling me that I was miraculously with child, fathered by God. Honestly, keeping it real, I would have probably vainly thought “What will people think? Nobody will ever believe this!” and realistically, if someone came to you and told you they were a pregnant virgin, I’m betting you would immediately think they were crazy too, no? I can’t imagine the times were any different in this sense. People probably judged this poor girl! Heck, her own fiance was ready to call off the wedding until an angel appeared to him! I feel like it’s often overlooked just what this young woman endured to bring to life our Savior…
If you’ve had a child or not, put yourself in her shoes on the night that she gave birth. She’s at full term of her pregnancy riding a donkey. Today a pregnant woman wouldn’t even be allowed to ride a donkey at any point of her pregnancy let alone full term! At term, it’s uncomfortable laying in your comfortable bed, and girlfriend is instead riding a donkey…can you wrap your head around it? A woman’s first birth is always scary because she doesn’t know what to expect. There are the constant thoughts of “Is this it? Am I in labor?” Imagine being in labor and not having a place to give birth. Imagine nobody opening their doors to you, nobody willing to help you. How scared would you be? At this point, I guess being offered a manger to give birth in would be okay, but imagine giving birth in a barn…with animals all around you. You’ve been in a barn before, so I don’t need to explain the sights and smells surrounding her at this point…her comfort was hay…itchy, scratchy, smelly hay. There was no epidural, and there were no drugs. There were no doctors to coach her through and stitch her up afterward. There was no expert to tell her if her child was healthy or not. Keep in mind, she’s in a barn with no heat in the middle of the night. This thought prompted me to look up the weather in Bethlehem, and this year on Christmas Eve, the night will be a cool 41 degrees. Can you imagine birthing your baby outside in those conditions? I hope for her sake that God had mercy on this sweet woman and made her labor the easiest in the history of labors!
All books and statues show such a peaceful scene the night of Jesus’ birth, but my empathetic self wonders if this was really the scene that played out that night? I have a feeling we’ve been portraying it all wrong for so long, though I will say that once you hold your newborn in your arms all the troubles you may have had melt away. You easily forget the pain endured during, but you never forget the joy brought after 🙂
Christmas Day, easily the biggest celebration of the entire year, is about the birth of a baby, but not just any baby…the baby who would grow to be the man who would die a horrific death to save the life of all sinners.
Today, over 2,000 years later, Christmas continues to be about this child, but also all children. This holiday is geared toward pleasing children, and though I know we definitely go overboard with things like Santa and The Elf On The Shelf, I believe in my heart that Jesus would appreciate this, because Jesus also loved the little children. He often encouraged his disciples to have child like faith. I can say honestly that this year in particular is different for me. There’s a new sense of Christmas Spirit in me that had been missing for so long. I believe this year is so different because this year I am truly trying to see Christmas through the eyes of my 2.5 year old. This year, he “gets it” on a whole new level – and I think this year I “get it” on a whole new level as well. And it’s not about Santa or the Elf, it’s about seeing him point at a manger scene and say “Jesus”, honestly, what could ever compare? That right there brought so much joy to this Momma’s heart! Knowing he knows Jesus is all the gift I need this year, or ever!
It’s funny to think that on someone else’s Birthday, we were given a gift, but not just any gift, the greatest gift! When Jesus was born, we were given the promise of eternal life! Please, don’t forget this as you go about your Christmas Day. Take time to think about and thank, and of course wish a Happy Birthday to our Lord, Jesus Christ, who was and is and is to come!
Merry CHRISTmas my friends 🙂