I am part of a faith that for years ignored Christmas. Yes, ignored Christmas. The reasoning was that we celebrated Jesus' birth every day, so we shouldn't make any day more important than the other. I never got that -- the rest of the world is finally talking about the birth of our Savior and we're going to ignore it? Huh?
I actually grew up in a "liberal" church and had a rebel Christmas tree in the building and everything. But only in the last few years have I really been enjoying the true focus of the season. We have had Christmas services -- no, we still don't have service ON Christmas or Christmas Eve, we have to go elsewhere for that, and my family does -- but we have services centered around that blessed event of the birth of our Savior. I'm so glad.
Since I've been a mother, the part about Mary has really gotten to me, and now that my daughter is approximately the age we think Mary was at the time she gave birth (Ashley is almost 14, we think Mary was 14 or 15) I just am haunted by what that must have been like, and think of Mary and her obedience.
This scripture really gave me pause this weekend:
Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Matthew 1:18,19
I don't know how long it was between Joseph making that decision to "divorce" (break the engagement) Mary and the angel showing up, but I would venture a guess that Mary was aware that Joseph wasn't pleased with the situation, and at least had the honor to keep publicly quiet about it.
I wondered how out of control she must have felt, how she must have wondered what crazy road God was dragging her down when nothing was going as she thought it would, and she probably felt very alone.
Of course, all of that is complete speculation. But I do suspect there may be a grain of truth in there somewhere.
And I wonder do we ever feel out of control, wondering what crazy road God is dragging us down, nothing going like we think it should, feeling very alone on this earth -- when the author of creation has The Plan engraved on His palm? When He who loves us more perfectly than we can know has us in His hand?
Yes, I think that must happen all the time. This Christmas, may you know Him and His perfect love for you.