When Christmas is different
“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:6-7
Mary took a trip with her her fiance to comply with the decree that the entire roman population be counted. She was great with child and knew that her time was close. The baby was to be born. I’m sure, like all moms to be, she had everything she needed at home to be prepared to bring the child into the world in peace and comfort. She had dreamed about this day and was anticipating the arrival of her first born child.
But it was different then she expected.
She was in a place that wasn’t familiar or clean or normal. She was in a stable, without her mom or sisters or cousins. It was just her and Joseph. No bed, nothing traditional or normal about this day. She knew what this day was to look like but it was different.
This Christmas was different then all the others for me. My children were with their father. My parents were in Arizona. My brother was at his home. My husbands father was with Jesus. We were with my mother-in-law. She didn’t have a tree or lights or “dad’s dip” or Turkey. We didn’t go to church on Christmas Eve due to the weather and we didn’t wake up to stockings on Christmas Day. I wasn’t in my own bed, my traditions weren’t present and there didn’t seem to be anything normal about the holiday. It was different.
I thought about how Christmas may be different for others as well. Just because this was my first “different Christmas” doesn’t mean that others haven’t had different Christmas’ before me. What do we do with different? Is all lost? Does Christmas loose its meaning or should it be less profound? Is there something wrong with us if our Christmas is different or did we somehow miss out?
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
Mary’s example is all that we need to remember during these times of different. We don’t see her spiral into despair or feel like she was cheated by the “different” birth experience she had. She didn’t complain or question. She simply TREASURED and PONDERED.
I know that “where my heart is, there my treasure is also” (Matthew 6:21). Where I focus my allegiances will be where my treasure is found. If my heart is in the tradition of Christmas and not on the Savior born on Christmas, my treasure will be seemingly lost and I will feel poor in spirit.
Driving home from Portland after picking up my daughter from the airport gave me time to PONDER. I gave careful thought (ponder) to the immensity of my God. How large He is compared to me. How much bigger He is than the silliness of my life. How much more tradition He carries than my feeble traditions. And then lastly, I pondered how much DIFFERENT He is then our little Christmas celebrations.
I am confident that He wants our holidays to be different. I’m sure that He is the one that purposed for my Christmas to be different. He is a God who is not content to keep everything the same but is intent on changing us and to change us He sometimes changes our normal into different. This is the way it is with God’s economy. His currency is different then ours and His payout always looks a bit different.
I still don’t know the exact reason why Christmas had to be different this year or even why my entire year of 2017 was so stinkin’ different. But as I have said before, if My God purposes for things to be in my life, then I shall embrace it and trust Him.
As I think about it, perhaps these times are so that we seek hard to FIND the Holy and with determination bring Him Glory.
Let it be.