From the Cove...
From the Cove…
This morning, I was thinking about the fact that Christmas will be here
before we know it. As usual, I'm looking forward to the Holiday and all that it
entails…the traditional “Hanging of the Greens,” the beginning of Advent, our
annual Ladies’ Christmas Tea, decorating the house, final Christmas shopping,
wrapping presents, the Christmas Eve Service, and preparing the menu for
Christmas Day. Sure, I know it’s almost a month away, but I also know those
days will fly by, and I want to make sure that I get everything done! So I thought
I’d better start making my list of all the things I need to do.
In the midst of this, I realized that everything on my list was just that…things I need to do. Nothing on my list says anything about enjoying the real meaning of Christmas. Now, I know that I could make a good argument about how all these things tie into the Birth of the Christ Child, but do they really? Or are they just traditions we’ve come up with that accompany the season? Good traditions, I'm sure, but a lot of busy work that can sometimes interfere with a concentration on what God has actually done for us in sending this Baby into the world.
Something that has helped me refocus is preparing the study of Advent for the Ladies Bible Study. As I searched through scriptures to help us understand the meaning of Advent, I found that I was actually reminding myself of the awesomeness of God’s plan. I happen to be someone who tries to transport myself back into the stories and the times of history. This always helps me as I try to understand what was really going on and what the people involved were feeling. And when it comes to the birth of this Baby, there is so much we can only imagine!
The people of Israel had been waiting for a Messiah for hundreds of years, and this Messiah was to be born of a virgin, so why would it have been so hard for them to accept that this would really happen? I'm sure that many young girls would have grown up knowing the prophecy and wondering if they might be the one picked by God. Surely, Mary accepted the Angel’s words completely, even though she was not quite aware of how it would all come about.
How devastating it would have been for her when it became apparent that others weren’t as accepting, even her betrothed husband, Joseph. Remember, in those days, there were huge penalties for immorality, even death. She must have been so frightened and confused even though she knew the truth. What a relief it would have been when Joseph revealed the Angel’s message to him and refused to condemn her. Still, they both had to face the hostility of others who did not understand their situation. How many times she must have questioned her own faith in the months of her pregnancy. After all, she was just a very young girl.
Then came the long journey to Bethlehem when she was close to the time of delivering her child. Days spent on the back of a donkey, only to find there was no shelter when she needed it most! And what was Joseph feeling during this time? Can you picture his fear as he tried to find a safe place for this baby to be delivered? If this was God's promise, why was it all so difficult?
Of course, we all know that everything turned out fine in the end…the star, the birth of the child, the adoration of the shepherds, the gifts of the magi...but, sometimes, we need to realize that these were real people, people just like us. People who accepted God’s word and did the best they could to follow His plan even when they didn’t totally understand it. Maybe we need to remember that in order to really appreciate the Miracle this Christmas!
“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12