Waiting

Birth Jesus silhouette of the crib in Bethlehem and candlesI’ve barely given a nod to Christmas this year. We’re house hunting, thinking about packing, trying to make plans for the future, and Christmas has fallen to the wayside.

In my denomination we celebrate Advent, the month leading to Christmas. It’s a time of waiting. And yet I bet for Mary, that last month before the first Christmas was more than just waiting. She had things to do. Baby clothes to make. Packing for the census travel that took her to Bethlehem. Talking to friends about pregnancy, birth, newborns. Getting ready for parenthood is work.

But then the baby came. Also in our denomination we talk about the Christmas season. Twelve days of it. I suspect once baby Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph slowed down for a few days. Mary rested. I’m sure God’s promises took new meaning when that baby was finally in her arms. She learned to feed him. She watched him sleep. Joseph listened for him to breathe at night, thinking about their little one’s future. They figured out his feeding and sleeping schedule. For a few precious days, they could simply watch and reflect and delight that he was here.

I’m glad to take a few days off house hunting and packing to celebrate Christmas. Whether I’m prepared or not, it’s here. It hasn’t been a normal holiday season, but that’s okay. I can still slow down and focus on the baby sleeping in the hay. The boy growing up in Nazareth. The man preaching in Jerusalem. The savior sitting on a throne. I didn’t do a great job of Advent this year, but God never said I had to. Advent and Christmas are based on biblical events, but God never said we had to celebrate them. It benefits us, but it’s not mandatory. This year I’m especially glad of that.

Next year I’ll celebrate from another place. I have no idea where that will be. But I hope by then life will slow down, and I can take time to focus on the truths of Advent and Christmas. Until then, I want to wish all of my readers and friends a time of peace this year. Whether it’s a month or a day or an hour, I hope you can find time to reflect, like Mary and Joseph did, that the promised child truly came, and he did more than his parents ever expected of him. I don’t think anyone knew, on that very first night, just what had come to the world, and what kind of victories God had planned through him. It’s amazing to think about.

Merry Christmas.

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