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  • Writer's picturePam

Pondering Christmas

Here it is. December. I have the decorations up, some gifts purchased, and can feel myself getting into that wonderful spirit of Christmas! It is easy to get wrapped up in all the festivities, to-do lists, and other “stresses” of the season. I have been pondering ideas on how I picture our Christmas this year. My family is growing and changing, and as the mom, I want things to be special for my family! When I picture what I’d like to happen, I get even more excited! Can you relate?

I can’t help but think of Mary, mother of Jesus. I’m sure she had ideas on how things would be for her and Joseph as she anticipated the birth of Jesus. However, I highly doubt things happened as she pictured them in her mind. It could not have been easy. It had to have been very stressful as she and Joseph dealt with the gossip and talk in town about being pregnant before marriage. Typically, when this happened, the women became outcasts and were left to manage on their own. God had perfect provision and instructed Mary to stay with Elizabeth for a few months, to protect her from some of that. She also must have felt incredible love for Joseph, willing to stay beside her through it all when he had every reason to quietly leave her.

The time came for Mary to give birth. There was also a decree that a census should be taken which required Joseph to return to his ancestral town to register. Giving birth is not the most glamorous thing, but here she is; riding on a donkey while 9 months pregnant, away from her home and all she knew! Let’s be real – how uncomfortable that must have been! Wow! What do you think was going through her mind? Maybe “when I am going to have this baby?” Or “God, where are you?” or “Can we stop – I have to go to the bathroom AGAIN!”. I cannot even begin to imagine.

Picture Mary, in labor on a donkey, away from home, away from anything familiar. Then the time has come to give birth and there is no room anywhere for them! I only know the panic I would have knowing this baby was coming and I had nowhere to go! The only place left was a barn, a barn filled with animals! The smell, the dirt, not at all how I would think she would have imagined it. Then baby Jesus arrived. What does she wrap him in? Swaddling clothes. Where does this new baby lay? A feeding trough for animals. How do you think Mary was feeling? Was this how she imagined it would be? My guess is that it was very different from the picture she had imagined for the past nine months!

In Luke 2:8 it says the shepherds came to visit, in awe of the newborn King. Once again, I cannot even imagine how she felt with all this attention. Protective? Overwhelmed? In awe? The sentence in Luke 2:19 sums it up,” But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” What was it she was pondering? What had just happened? Was it the drawing of the shepherds and wise men? Was it the anticipation, wonder, or fear of what might lie ahead for this little baby? Maybe the pondering was of gratitude that she had a healthy son and husband who stood by her. Maybe she was overwhelmed with thanksgiving to God for providing for them! I have to believe that some of what she pondered was thankfulness, even though it wasn’t how she had imagined it would be. It wasn’t how she imagined it would be, but it was how God planned it to be.

As we ponder and prepare for our families a meaningful Christmas, it’s okay to dream! It’s fun! It is important to remember things may or may not turn out like we imagine. That’s okay too. I can’t imagine everything played out the way Mary expected in the birth of her son, Jesus, either. Yet in it she felt joy, thanksgiving, and awe that she had this gift to give to the world. I plan on embracing the moment this Christmas, accepting what comes, and being reminded of the all the incredible things I have to be thankful for, trusting that God has me, you, and our precious families in the palm of His hand.

From my family to yours, wishing you a warm, joy-filled, and meaningful Christmas!

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