Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Why I Can't Get Over Christmas

OK.  Let's just take a minute to wash away all of the crapola that's infiltrated our lives this week.  Real, heartbreaking life moments like a hospital telling you your grandma was going to die (true story) all the way down to all the Duck Dynasty junk, let it wash away. Because today is Christmas. And I just can't get over it. I cry at almost every hymn, every carol, every song declaring that baby Jesus is here.

I just can't get over it. Over the love story between Mary and Joseph.  How their love grew out of God's plan for a Savior.  Mary, just a teenager, finds herself pregnant and chooses to simply worship God in that moment.  Have you read that lately? Go back it the Bible and find it. Her wisdom was beyond her years.   And Joseph.  I'm sure he was not prepared for what was going to happen when he became betrothed to little ol' Mary next door.  He had every reason to not believe her, but chose to shield and protect her from accusations and fierce words and led her through the harsh conditions all the way to a stable in Bethlehem.

When I think of the magi I immediately think of the hymn "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus."  And I imagine their discussions while traveling.  Their giddiness must have been infectious. Or people thought they were crazy. Probably both. All the prophecy they had poured their lives into rode on this one star.  How full of faith they must have been.  I can imagine God's heart being so happy watching their journey to worship Jesus.

The shepherds.  Let's just skip the CHOIR OF ANGELS in the field, which awesomeness has no bounds, for a second.  (And yes, I do imagine a huge choir singing praise music with hands raises and lots of clapping and dancing and jumping.) The shepherds were the first visitors to see Jesus.  And I know that this isn't in the Bible, but I imagine them worshipping Jesus and Mary asking, "Would you like to hold him?"  I imagine burly men with beards and young soft-skinned shepherds weeping while holding Jesus, shushing him when he starts to whimper; his little hands wrapping around their rough fingers.

I can't even begin to think about Mary looking into His eyes after He was born.  Singing him the lullabies she'd heard her mama sing hundreds of times. Calming a baby that would calm her heart many times over.  I'm sure the mundane things of motherhood took on new meaning when you're mothering the Messiah.  Get his bottom extra clean? Check.  Lotion him until he smells heavenly, but not until he's slippery? Check.  And let's not forget that she was doing this as a teenager without her family around to give her advice or hold the baby while she took a shower.

Joseph holds a special place in my heart.  A daddy's job is vast.  First he must learn to become a super swaddler.  Obviously he had that down because it was mentioned in Scripture.  Teaching Jesus how to fix things around the house and how to be a gentlemen must have been such a privilege and an honor to Joseph. And I've seen the look in a daddy's eyes when their baby gazes up at them.  I can just see Joseph's eyes welling up with tears as Jesus settled in his arms for a bit. I can see Joseph silently smile at his wife when Jesus made those little baby noises while he slept. How he jumped at every little move Jesus made during those first few nights.

Do you think they knew all the prophecies when the angels came to them?  Or do you think they immediately went and read them all?  I can see their heartbroken faces when they realized the baby they just felt kick in the womb would be brutally murdered before them, but that he was also the Redeemer of a broken people. Young parents that had equal parts joy and horror before them.

I wonder how God felt that night?  It's hard for me to put myself in God's shoes, but as a parent, I think it had to be bittersweet.  I think back to Abraham and Isaac and I know God was just wishing someone would come out of the bushes and say, "WAIT! There's another way!"  But He knew this was it.  At the same moment Mary was filled with the most joy she'd ever experienced, God must have been looking down, with tears streaming down his face- his beloved Son was the Hope of his people.

So I'll always cry when I hear "O Holy Night." My voice will shake while reading the story to my children as tears stream down my face. Because God's mercy was shown to me that night in Bethlehem. And it is something I will never get over. I don't want to.

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