Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The First Christmas

Mary's been on my mind this year. As our daughter entered the final month of her pregnancy during this Christmas season, I suppose the Christmas story has come alive for me in a new way.

Jill is in that clunky, can't-quite-get-comfortable-in-your-own-skin place of pregnancy. She's a little short of breath as the Little Miss pushes against her diaphragm, and a winter cold adds to the discomfort. It's almost as if the body that she's known all her life is no longer her own as it nurtures another life.

But think of Mary. This simple teenager from Nazareth likely had to face a community of naysayers. Human nature can't have been all that different back in Bible times. Even without lightning-fast reactions to Facebook or texts or tweets, don't you suppose she was the talk of Nazareth?

"Sure, you were visited by an angel."
"That's a likely story. That's what all little unwed mothers would like us to believe."
"Uh huh, right ... You, little Mary from Nazareth, will give birth to the Messiah."

Mary didn't live in a nice suburban home. She didn't have the best in prenatal care. She didn't have a baby shower or two to fill a beautifully-appointed nursery with the latest and greatest devices to ease her into the role of motherhood.

She rode a donkey on the way to give birth. She placed the King of the world in a manger.

Surely she was like other mothers, pondering her little one's future. This grandmother-to-be wonders if our little one will have her mother's beautiful blue eyes and her Daddy's easy-going disposition. Will she be a girly-girl or a tomboy? Who will she be? What will her future hold?

Did Mary truly understand what motherhood would bring? Do any of us? But, regardless of the cost, when the angel came to her, she said yes.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Luke 1:38 - New International Version

During this Christmas season, help me to listen. And then help me to say yes.


And speaking of the "first Christmas" ... Yes, I know it's a stretch! We had our first celebration of 2011 over the weekend. We gathered at Jill and Eric's home in Topeka, since our daughter isn't traveling very far away from that aforementioned, well-appointed hospital!

Randy's sister, Kathy, and her husband, Dave, came to spend Sunday afternoon.

Amanda and Emily patiently waited through our "grazing" session of appetizers before opening presents. (And Brent successfully avoided the camera.) We had an afternoon filled with memories and laughter.

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:
the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.

- Burton Hillis


This song has long been one of my favorites for Christmas. It tells Mary's story, and, in a way, the story of every young mother who awaits the birth of a special child.

I'm linked today to Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky.

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