After Christmas

The tree lingers. Gives off the feeling that it shouldn’t be lit because Christmas is over, yet I light it anyway. I find myself ready to take it down. I like having full view out of my front window and the tree’s been blocking it since mid-November. But it’s been a lovely tree, with lovely lights and ornaments and ribbon. I’ve enjoyed the pretty-ness to the fullest. And the meaning behind it…an evergreen tree representing everlasting life…and knowing that Christ hung and died on a tree…makes it beautiful beyond words.

Christmas is beautiful. Throughout December, I’ve been thinking about the First Christmas. Of course it wasn’t called that. But Jesus’ birth did happen (regardless of the actual date), and when it did, God thought it’d be cool to get shepherds to come celebrate His birth. Those shepherds were the first people to make a party out of Jesus’ birth. They came to worship Him, a small, tiny newborn baby.

Then I think of the utter humility of the whole event. Have you ever thought that God didn’t have to send His Son in such a way? He could have arrived with pomp and circumstance. He could have come down from the sky in an obvious “I’m God” kind of way. But no. That way wasn’t good enough.

God thought the absolute best way to send His Son was to allow a virgin to conceive, without ever being with a man. The most humble way imaginable. Can you imagine what her family thought? Would she have had to deal with being disgraced? I would think that the majority of people didn’t believe her story. And there was Joseph, the man she was to marry, and he had his own doubts about her. Thankfully God appeared to him in a dream and told him it was okay!

And did you know that Nazareth was considered a crappy place to live back then? Remember one of Jesus’ disciples saying “Nothing good comes out of Nazareth.” And Mary lived in Nazareth. So God chose a simple virgin who was a nobody, who lived in a despised town, to be the mother of the Savior.

And the way Jesus was born! The humble stable, smelling of animal filth, I’m sure. No room for them in the inn. And the beauty of Him being born as a tiny baby, completely dependent on His mother. Have you ever thought that Jesus was breastfed? But He was…He was a normal, tiny baby…and can you imagine Mary’s feelings?? To know that you’re nursing…God?? And that He has become human form and is dependent on you for physical nourishment?

It must have been completely mind-blowing for Mary. And overwhelming. And beautiful. To know that the baby you’ve just delivered is the Savior, who will save you from your sins.

He didn’t have to come that way. As a baby, helpless and yes, humble. Weak. Unable to do anything for Himself. The beauty of this story is indescribable.

It wasn’t enough that Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger. God wanted someone to celebrate it! And of all the people on earth at that time, He chose shepherds, whom, in that day, were considered filthy, lowly peasants. He chose them above kings to be the first to see His Son on earth, and to worship Him.

As a new mother (still considering myself new at this, although Olive will be two in February!), I can’t help feeling so connected with Mary. I remember my beautiful, helpless baby, needing so much from me. And I readily gave it!

Being “just a mom” is a humble role in our society. I don’t “do” anything for a living. But I do a humble, seemingly thankless, very necessary job. It’s the meanest of tasks, just caring for a young one. The simplest of things, making sure they’re bathed, fed, happy, taught right from wrong. But God showed us how important moms are, with how He sent His Son. He elevated “mother” to the highest, most important human role. He gave honor to Mary and to all moms, by showing that the humblest ways are the highest.

He didn’t have to do that! But He “resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.” And Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant.”

So, He didn’t need kings and a big show to come to earth. He needed the lowliest, filthiest, humble nobodies, to be the means through which He gave us the first Christmas gift, His Son. I gladly celebrate His birth. Just as the shepherds did. Just as the Wise Men later did. I am in awe at the ways of our God. I am so grateful, because He came to earth with one purpose: to be the ultimate sacrifice for all of humanity. And me. He did it for me.

It’s after Christmas now. The main event has come and gone. But in my heart, it’s Christmas all year long!. I will honor Christmas in my heart year-round, knowing the beauty of the First Gift, and the First Christmas. That holy and silent night. What beauty came to earth..so quietly, so simply, soo…harshly, through childbirth. Crude, painful, laborious childbirth.

He makes all things beautiful, doesn’t He.

 

Manger

 

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