Sunday, December 25, 2011

A More Real Christmas

Christmas is a beautiful time of year. When I was younger I looked at Christmas in a different light than I do now. Back then it was all about fun, good cheer, getting know the stuff every kid loves about Christmas. But, now I don't see things the same.

My parents have always made Christmas a joyous time in our house, but the last couple years God has brought us through some... let's say...testing at Christmas time. Last year at this time, my Mom miscarried, I had a sister move out and other nameless trials. This year we again have had some different trials. In my fleshly heart, it is terribly easy to become angry or even bitter. I read newsletters about all the wonderful things people are doing and wonder why my life is so very different from theirs.

This Christmas I learned something very important. I learned more about Christ.
Let me explain:
There was a point this last week when I was exasperated, at tail end and just frustrated with the fact that I did not get what God was doing. It was during this time of exasperation that God revealed to me a more real and true version of the Nativity.
What if Mary was like me? What if she was scared, frustrated, confused? Maybe she wanted to serve Jehovah, but doubted His reasoning in choosing her. Maybe she felt like she had reached the bottom. Being pregnant out of wedlock was not accepted back then as it is now. I'm sure she felt the sting of many a friends rejection. She probably felt alone.
And Joseph, I can't imagine the amount of pressure he must have felt. To have countless people turn their backs on you because you embraced God's will. Knowing that people would never look at you the same is hard. He was probably a good, honorable man that became defined by a deed he never did.

There was no trip to Disney World or countless dinners at a resort included on the trip to Bethlehem. They were two people brought very closely together I'm sure, by embracing a terribly difficult calling from God. I know that just because you are willing to follow God's calling doesn't ensure a happy, glorious, yellow brick road. I'm not trying to place Joseph and Mary into the twenty-first century, but I know they were sinful human beings, and while they might not have had the exact same feelings and emotions that I do, I know it wasn't easy for them.
But, how it must have payed off as Mary held the precious Savior in her arms. Looking into his eyes must have been the most beautiful moment in all of eternity.
The rejection and shame placed on Joseph and Mary were only a small piece of the the rejection and shame that would be placed on their son.

And so, as I struggled trying to understand the whys and whens of life, I realized that I had been given a very special gift. I got to partake of that first Christmas in my own way. God gave me a clearer view of what my Savior went through for me and of why He came to this earth. Suddenly, all of those things that other people got to do and the places they went seemed far less desirable. Someone reminded me the other day that life wasn't meant to be easy. Following God's will isn't easy and yet it reaps a thousand times more rewards than a life spent in pleasures. I think of all that Mary and Joseph went through, and even more, all that Jesus went through and suddenly my life seems easy. The pain, fear, frustration and confusion seem all the more worth it because I know God has something greater awaiting me. Something that I may not see at this moment, but that He sees very clearly.

Luke 1:46-55
"And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever."

Merry Christmas
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