"But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.'" Luke 1:30-32a (NIV)
I am a very sentimental mother of one. That sentimentality comes out in full force during the Christmas season. Every memory of my daughter's early years comes flooding back. I can still see her little eyes as she watched the blinking lights on the tree, her surprise as she entered the living room on Christmas morning and hear her exclamation of excitement when she saw a red blinking light on top of a tower and decided that it was Rudolph. Shopping, decorating the house, hanging the stockings and everything else preparing for the day are still all done with her in mind. She is grown now, however, the advent calendar that I got for her as a toddler still hangs each year and all the pockets are filled with candy.
Yes, being a mother has given me great joy. Because of that, I cannot hear any of the Christmas story without wondering about Mary. Here is this young girl, greeted by an Angel (not exactly an everyday occurrence) who tells her that she is going to conceive a child. Not just any child, but the Son of God. And while the Angel tells her not to be afraid, I can't even imagine what must have been going through her mind. I know she was chosen of the Lord and must have had incredible faith, but she was also human. What were her initial thoughts and feelings? I can just feature her standing in front of the mirror and saying, "What just happened?" Whatever the process was for her, we can hear the joy of her soul later in the chapter. If she had fear or apprehension, she was able to put it aside and glorify God while she was with Elizabeth.
Scripture shows us that children are special to the Father. Psalm 127:3 tells us that, "Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him." The fact that He sent His son to earth in the manner He chose amazes me. He entered the world the same way we all do, through human birth. He who has all power was a newborn helpless infant. He was totally dependent on imperfect earthly parents. He cried when He was hungry. He had to learn to walk. He experienced the discomfort of teething, skinned knees and tummy aches. As His mother, I am sure that Mary watched the same expressions on His face and heard excitement in His voice the way we do with our children.
The wonder that little ones experience during this season is a wonder that we all should share in. The very first Christmas gift was a baby. This baby left His place in Heaven for each one of us. His birth was for the whole world but it was a personal gift to me and to you. It came with hope, purpose and salvation. Because of Him, we have an eternal reason to raise our voices in song.
As we all prepare for this season, let's keep Jesus as our primary focus. With each gift we purchase and wrap, we can say "thank you" for the first gift, the perfect gift. When we hang our ornaments and enjoy the lights on our homes and trees, let us remember that He is the source of true beauty and the Light of the World. And as we set up and admire our nativity scenes, we should pay close attention to the participants and wonder what they wondered.
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