Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas

Christmas is normally my favorite time of year.  I just love everything about it. The smells, the sounds, the sights. But this year, Christmas day has just been a big fat reminder to me of what's coming for me and my kids: moving day.

Noah--Christmas 2010

It started in November, when we had that first cold snap.  I got excited for a second and then quickly remembered: oh no. This means the move is coming. And then Thanksgiving rolled around and I started to feel that kid-like excitement growing in me at the thought of Black Friday, Christmas shopping, and I'm not gonna lie...Christmas food. One of the best parts, right? But, again, I stopped myself before the excitement could gather. Because, frankly, even though I KNOW this is where God is moving us, it's been hard to think about how the goodbye's will happen. What could I possibly do to say goodbye to my friends and family the right way? Is there a right way? A way that's more meaningful than just a hug and a "bye"?

So, obviously, my attitude has been less than stellar. I've been trying to remind myself that I have excuses for sadness this holiday season: leaving home, leaving country; saying goodbye to precious friends and wondering how soon I'll make new ones; saying goodbye to family and knowing full-well that this is a void no one else can fill.

So, yeah, I've been excusing myself. I've allowed myself to be slightly pitiful.

And then sometime last week I started thinking about Mary and the painful life changes she went through in less than a year. A teenager, probably 14 or 15 at best.  Pregnant. Engaged to a man who may well be the only person who believes her story about an angel appearing and telling her she's to be the mother of the Messiah.  She was most likely abandoned by an ashamed family, or, at the least, given a horrible dose of judgement.  We women know about those cutting eyes other women can make. Kinda like high school? And we all remember how much fun THAT was.  And this was probably 10x worse. Then when the time came, she was alone, without her mother or sister, giving birth, in a dirty barn. Exactly the way we little girls dream it will happen, right?  She was in a situation where God called her to do something beyond herself, give of something greater than her own life.

The Bible is vague about so many of the events recorded on its pages.  Yet, it records in detail Mary's response to the life path that is suddenly thrust before her:

"My soul magnifies the Lord! How I rejoice in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and now generation after generation will call me blessed. For he, the Mighty One, is holy, and he has done great things for me." Luke 1:46-49

I love that she says her soul magnifies the Lord. It not only challenges me, but last week, it reminded me of why Christmas is Christmas.

Although I do love all the wonderful things surrounding the holiday season, I was reminded of Mary's response to the Lord.  I'm sure she thought that carrying a child without being married was the "worst" thing she'd face. Little did she know that 33 years later she'd watch that perfect baby boy be beaten and whipped. Not just for me. But for her too. For all of our sins. I wonder if after he was buried and the finality of his death settled over her, was she able to say "my soul magnifies the Lord"?  My gut tells me that she could.  That in every stage, his birth, death, and then his glorious resurrection, Mary's soul magnified the Father.

So, who am I to stop myself from celebrating the greatest birthday in history? The greatest story, really. Because it didn't just happen in a day. The full meaning of Christmas happened over the 33 years of Jesus' life.  So, I am officially in full-swing Christmas mode.  Bring it on.  The food.  The family. The fun.  But, more than anything, reflecting on my Savior's birth. And creating an environment within my spirit that enables me to say, "Lord, my soul magnifies you."

Merry Christmas!!!

Me and the hubs; Christmas 2009

Seth- Christmas 2010

Jackson and Noah- Christmas 2009

Noah-Christmas 2007

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