It happened again this year...
Even though I said I wouldn't let it...
Even though I vowed, just last year, to kick crazy to the curb and remember the real reason for the Season this Christmas...
Then, just last week...I lost my ever-lovin' mind.
We were preparing to host out-of-town family for the holidays, and there was so. much. to. do. I don't remember what insignificant detail sent me into an emotional tailspin, but I do remember my wise and loving husband coming to the rescue (as he always does).
I rattled off the endless list of things still needing to be done, on top of the normal, everyday things like laundry and dishes, and homeschool. He let me rant, then he calmly said, "But we're not in a hospital recovering from surgery or chemotherapy." Then he lovingly sent me off to bed for a good night's rest, promising things would look better in the morning. And, of course, they did.
I woke up the next morning with renewed energy and a fresh perspective. Still, I had learned a valuable lesson. That simple statement from my husband was a gentle reminder of all God has done for us. God used those words to help me pause in the midst of a hectic season and realize a painful truth: It's easier for me to trust God with the big things--like cancer--than the normal, ordinary, everyday things.
But that's not what Christmas is about. Christ didn't come just for the big moments in life--the mountains that we face or the valleys we walk through. He came for the everyday moments.
Why else would He have been born in a manger, rather than a palace? Why would He come to ordinary people, not royalty? Why would He make His entrance on an average day, without pomp and fanfare?
[Joseph] went there (Bethlehem) with Mary to be listed. Mary was engaged to him. She was expecting a baby. While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born. She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. That’s because there was no guest room where they could stay. (Luke 2:4-7)
Why would heaven choose to first announce the Birth of the Christ to shepherds? Simple, ordinary shepherds?
There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were taking care of their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news. It will bring great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:8-11)
Yes, there would be kings coming from the East to worship the Messiah. But the first who came? Shepherds. Because God is for everyone. On every day. In every situation.
Imagine the scene the Baby Jesus caused in the quiet little town of Bethlehem...a young couple, bedded down in a stable for the night where she gives birth to their first son. Then, when things are just beginning to calm down, here came a whole herd of shepherds trapsing through town with their sheep (you don't think they left them in the fields do you?), searching for the newborn King.
I can only imagine what the new-to-motherhood Mary was thinking when a group of smelly roughians approached her and her baby. That's exactly the kind of chaos every new mother needs! But tucked into the midst of all the chaos of the scene is my favorite verse in the Christmas story:
Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over. (Luke 2:19)
In the midst of the crazy and the chaos, Mary found peace and stillness in the presence of her baby...the Savior of the world.
So, even if the shopping is not yet done. Even if the house isn't quite clean. Even if the gifts aren't wrapped. Take a tip form Mary and snuggle up with a cup of coffee, gaze at the Christmas tree, treasure this precious Baby--Immanuel, God with us, and treasure all these things in your heart.
Wishing you and yours and blessed and restful Christmas!
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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.