This year I've been thinking about a few other things. The first thing is that I've been marveling at how many people celebrate Christmas. Sure - most of them don't really understand where "Santa" came from or the history behind Christmas. And many - even though they say Merry Christmas - don't really even know or care about the fact that Christ was born. And yes - I realize Christ wasn't really born Dec 25 and that it is thought that perhaps religious leaders were piggy backing on other pagan holidays...but we don't say "Happy Winter Solstice!" to each either!
Isn't that amazing? The birth of one person has affect the world in such a dramatic way? It is really undeniable. I've heard the argument "Well Christians keep it alive." Ok. Perhaps. But I don't see us celebrating the birth of Ghandi on an international level either.
The bottom line is that this little baby came to this earth and changed it forever. And there isn't really anyone else that can claim that.
The other thing I've been thinking about is Mary. Being pregnant and having two very good friends who are very pregnant (as in - due to give birth ANY day now!) probably put it on my mind a little bit. Mary sat on a donkey for 3 days. THREE DAYS! Nine months pregnant! I have trouble sitting in a chair for an hour straight (at 28 wks) - let alone a donkey. And I'm fairly certain my couch is probably more comfortable than her donkey...just saying. What was she saying? Was she complaining at Joseph the whole time? "That darn Ceasar Augustus! Why can't I be at home? Why do we have to do this now? THIS ISN'T WHAT I WANT TO BE DOING RIGHT NOW!"
I realize most people like to picture Mary as the perfect woman. But...she was human. So she wasn't perfect. And I think we would all understand if she griped about having to be on a donkey. And it may be that she didn't gripe - because she was familiar enough with the prophecies to understand she wouldn't be giving birth at home. (I have no clue. I'm just pondering here.) What I do know is that after riding on the donkey and then giving birth in a stinky barn, the Bible says this:
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. ~Luke 2:19 (NIV)If you've ever had a baby then you understand as a woman how important the birth story is. Many write it down so they don't forget. (I usually do - I think I have them for all 3!) And even though I know that Mary knew she was giving birth to our savior and this baby's importance...the bottom line is that this child was Mary's first kid. And she birthed him. It is the most natural thing in the world to be sentimental over it. I can only imagine how it must have been amplified knowing who the child was.
But then this morning I was reading...and I saw this.
... But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. ~Luke 2:51 (NIV)Again. This time Jesus was 12. Here is my take on it - as a mom we are told all the time..."It goes by so fast!" and "Don't blink! Your kids will be gone!" Mary, a young mother, recognized this. She understood it was ok to hold these experiences near and dear because they would soon be gone. And despite the fact that her son was...special...Jesus was still her kid. And I'm certain she loved him like any other mom loves any of their kids. (Let's be honest. Most of us believe our kids are special! And that is OK! It is God's design!)
I love the fact she recognized this and it is a good lesson to myself. Enjoy my kids. Take pleasure in them. Treasure this time. Because it is short.