As many of us gear up for the “holiday” season I think it’s important that we take time and reflect upon all the fuss we find at every turn. We are bombarded with sales ads, incentives to buy more, more, more and media outlets doing their very best to push the notion that if we don’t participate we are indeed missing out.
The Virgin Mary found favor with God yet her Christmas was one without the trappings of luxury and hoopla we find marketed today. Mary even had to endure some things as she was favored by God.
Mary was pregnant before her marriage to Joseph. I’m pretty confident she had to endure the scandal and gossip of her peers in that day. She probably received the same stares and crazed looks anyone in this day would receive if making a claim of Immaculate Conception.
Mary birthed our Savior in less than ideal surroundings. I can’t think of many women, myself included, who would relish the fact of laboring in a stable. Some thought the King of kings would be born in a lavish inn and greeted with fanfare yet it was instead a “silent night.”
Later still, Mary would bear the responsibility of actually mothering the Son of God. Talk about pressure! I can only imagine what that did to her relationship with Joseph and their family dynamics. Not only was she responsible for Jesus the child but she eventually watched Him die an agonizing death. If she was so favored by God shouldn’t her life have been easier?
Favor from God doesn’t always manifest itself as we think it would. The Bible doesn’t promise an easy life of happiness and bliss. In fact, it assures us there will be trials.
We are often looking for a “fix” to our situations and may presume that God isn’t listening or that we have somehow “failed” when things don’t go as expected. Many people believe that if they are doing everything “right” in their lives, as best they can, they will be carefree and have no worries.
Mary endured much even as she was “favored” by God. She was blessed to be the mother of our Savior but that blessing wasn’t necessarily an easy path for her. And like Mary, we too must handle situations we don’t fully understand and possibly never will but God IS with us!
So, as the holiday lights sparkle and dazzle, remember that Christmas began without elaborate decor or grandeur, no widespread celebrations or multitudes of gifts. These things don’t define Christmas.
“Christmas” began in the most humble of places, with two people obedient to God and His presence upon them. Like Mary, that’s all we need.
“And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” Luke 1:28 NKJV