In the Spirit of Christmas

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” (Luke 1:46)

These words are from Mary…a teenage girl who was told by an angel that she, a virgin, would be bearing a son who would be the Lord and Savior of the world. How scared Mary must have been! How confused, anxious, fearful. And yet, she said “let it be done unto me,” and praised God. Wow, if only I could be like Mary in my moments of doubt and stress, to trust in God’s plan no matter how strange or scary it seems at the time, to have courage to answer “yes” no matter what.

I recently saw the story of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus enacted outdoors at a local church in a “live nativity.” I have lived in my town many years and have never seen it before this year and it was amazing. Every year I try to “get in the Christmas spirit”… with trips to the tree farm, seeing light shows, visiting Santa, baking, decorating, the annual Christmas parade and more. Grandkids do help. Still…it comes and goes. But there’s something different this year. The Christmas spirit is sticking with me, I think maybe because I am trying to remember every day as Advent winds down that it’s not about all of the “stuff”…it’s about Jesus.

I hope I can continue throughout the Christmas season to look to Mary and realize that if she could do it…accept such a seemingly outlandish plan as to conceive a child by the Holy Spirit…I can accept God’s plans for me and be grateful for them. And once I can find a measure of acceptance and gratitude, I can find peace and joy…and everything else will fall into place. That’s not saying the road is easy. Mary’s journey was far from it and she had to bear the grief of watching her son die before her very eyes, a pain very few come to know. I wonder, would she do it all over again if she knew the story’s ending? Perhaps that is why God doesn’t reveal his plans for us all at once.

Just for today I am ready to stay in today, I am grateful for God’s plan and purpose for me, for my position in life, and like Mary, my soul does proclaim the greatness of the Lord, my spirit does rejoice in God my savior.

I am also thankful for each and every one of you reading this, for friends and family, for all of the students I’ve taught and clients with whom I’ve worked and their amazing books this past year…and I sincerely wish you all a blessed, peaceful, joyful Christmas season and a healthy, happy New Year!

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