The heart of Christmas

Nine years ago, my thoughts on Christmas began to shift. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I love the story of the birth of Jesus. A pastor I had as a child always pointed out how Christmas was sort of pointless without the story of the cross. While that’s true enough, I think knowing the two stories together are what makes Christmas so incredibly special. I marvel at the thought of bringing a baby into the world knowing full well He was going to have to die a horrible death to save the very people who drove in the nails — both literally and figuratively. What a gift! What love! What a God!

This line of thinking has hit home to me more since becoming a mother. I’ve thought about how overwhelming it must have been for Mary as a mother. All new mothers are overwhelmed, especially with first children. If they tell you otherwise, they’re lying. I can’t imagine how much more Mary must have been overwhelmed knowing that the baby she was caring for was the Son of God. Talk about pressure! Add in that she had to give birth in a barn with only Joseph and animals around while she labored and delivered, and I can’t even begin to imagine how overwhelmed and terrified she must have been. 

I’ve also thought about more practical sort of things like whether Jesus cried. As a child, I was always told that He didn’t cry. As a mom, I think about that now and think how difficult that would be. How did Mary know when He was hungry? How did she know when He needed to be changed? How did He communicate with her before He could communicate with words? The logistics of it all seems so tricky. I’m not so sure that He wouldn’t have cried sometimes.  He was a baby.

And then I wonder what his toddlerhood was like as I remember my own kids’ toddler days and the joys of keeping them out of the trash and away from the scissors. Did Mary have to admonish little Jesus for getting into the trash or playing with Joseph’s tools? How does a perfect baby learn? How do you teach Him?

I don’t know the logistics. I don’t know whether Jesus explored and pushed boundaries and tried putting every single piece of lint he found into his mouth. I don’t know if Mary always maintained a patient composure when dealing with these trying phases or if she sometimes lost her cool. Or maybe those frustrating moments just didn’t happen. As the only perfect person to walk the earth, Jesus may have somehow innately knew not to do things like try and remove trash from the can or lick the dog.

What I do know for sure this Christmas season is that God sent His Son to save the world so that we might be free to love and live in Him. I know that I am more thankful for that gift than ever before because I want it for my children. I look at them and love them so completely and to the core of my very being and want them to know God’s love.

So many theological topics can trip people up. But, the one thing that remains and should always be the center is that God is love. He is the reason for the season. He is everything. And He is all that matters. The small details and the specifics don’t matter in the face of the great love of God.

Those are the things I’m thinking about this Christmas season. As you gather with your families to celebrate, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year!

In order to enjoy time with my family for Christmas, I won’t be posting a new blog on Monday as usual. Blog posts will return on Wed., Dec. 26. Thanks for your understanding!

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