“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19 ESV)
Singing along with those familiar favorites? “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…it’s the happiest season of all!” Hearing the holiday classics on the radio, does your mind conjure Hallmark images of ideal Christmases and festive traditions—only to come crashing back into reality when you remember that Christmases are less than perfect? If so, you are not alone because it happens to me, too. It can be discouraging when we are striving for peace on earth—or at least tranquility in our own homes—and goodwill toward men—or at least kindness toward our man and our children, as well as our siblings and parents, each of whom can disappoint us as much as we hurt or frustrate them during this season of celebration, with its too-full calendar, extra expenses, and varied expectations.
Longing to focus solely on Jesus, the only perfect part of Christmas, I pray each year for wisdom as I navigate Christmas preparations. And, this year the Holy Spirit highlighted Mary’s attitude, which was so trusting and peaceful amid her crazy circumstances. Sweet, young Mary experienced a terrible first Christmas: abandoned and scorned by her family and friends because of their disbelief in her impossible virgin pregnancy; adjusting to married life while pregnant and hormonal; forced by far-reaching Rome to travel—perhaps by foot, donkey, or a jostling cart—during her third trimester, only to arrive in an overcrowded Bethlehem where lodging was unavailable; giving birth for the first time, possibly with only inexperienced Joseph to help, amid a barn or cave, filled with smelly animals. And, her first guests were the lowly, dirty shepherds who arrived, uninvited and full of curiosity, to see her precious baby boy, Immanuel, which means ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23 ESV). Instead of expressing panic at the unfairness of her situation during this divine turn in her life’s journey, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Friend, will you join me and center your heart on Immanuel, God with us—the most wonderful miracle of all, this Christmas as we learn from Mary by trusting in God’s plan for each of us?
Bek Measmer and the Help Club for Moms Team