This year as we began the Holiday season at Thanksgiving, I must admit I did so with concern that with everyone living in different homes, and especially with "Mom and Dad" (me and my hubby) living out of the area that things just wouldn't feel the same. Well, that is true, it did not feel the same; but that doesn't mean that it wasn't special. I feared that without having all of my decorations up or having the kids come to my house for Christmas that I wouldn't enjoy my holidays...sounds so shallow even as I type it, so I determined that if Jesus could be born in a manger, certainly I could have one year without all my decorations and traditions .
Now, I know that I said that, but in my heart I was still carrying a "poor, pitiful me" attitude until I really got a glimpse of Christmas. Our family went to Bethlehem where they did a re-enactment of the Christmas story. I enjoyed the time with my kids and grandkids and thought it was so neat to see the camels and the other animals - I enjoyed walking around the "town" and seeing the various folks in costume - but when I saw a very pregnant Mary riding on a donkey and Joseph going from inn to inn to no avail I got a glimpse of the lonliness they must have felt.
I saw a young married couple that knew God was doing something extraordinarily miraculous facing rejection. I saw a young mother frightened at the prospect of having a baby with no place to go, a man that couldn't provide his best for his wife and coming child...and then considered that what God provided for the place of the birth of His only begotten Son was a lowly manger amongst animals in the cold, dark night. I saw a picture of God's greatest gift of love and realized that the most precious things can come in the most meager of circumstances. I realized that for His love He was willing do without what most people take for granted.
I bawled like baby as I heard "Oh Holy Night," and as my mind and heart pondered all of these things I felt so convicted over the things I was concerned about- Christmas isn't the decorations or the tree - it is the fact that God so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son; it is the joy and peace that we receive through the love of God - when we receive His only begotten Son as He is indeed - our Saviour!
As I enjoy my country home and see the majestic showing of stars each evening I am reminded of that Holy Night and the Star that led the Wise men to Christ - as I sense the presence of God through the Holy Spirit when I pray and read my Bible each day I have the joy and peace that was promised on that night so long ago in Luke 2:9-14, "And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
I am so thankful that though things are not as they have been in years gone by, Christmas has new meaning - or maybe I should say "True" meaning - the celebration of the birth of our Saviour! I pray that you will with me marvel at the miraculous gift of love God has sent to us - wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Merry Christmas to you! Have a wonderful day!