These past couple of weeks I have had a lot of opportunity to reflect on years of Christmas memories. A knee replacement operation does give one a lot of time to be alone with memories. I have to admit my memories of Christmas, especially those with our children and grandchildren are filled with many joyful moments.
I am certainly aware that for many Christmas brings up tragic moments making it hard to believe God really cares about any of us. This year I was told by a friend of a family whose neighbor’s home caught fire on Christmas day burning it to the ground. The family of 7 managed to escape unharmed but they lost everything in the home and garage. I was also told of a young man who two days before Christmas was diagnosed with stage four cancer with his choices for a cure limited. Another friend had a grandson killed in Afghanistan four days before his tour was to end. A young couple contacted me for prayers because the wife miscarried the week of Christmas; it was their first child.
Yes, I understand that the joy of Christmas is impacted by the events that surround us and many times those events are painful and seemingly have no way of being assuaged. There are no words, no prayer and no breaking through the grief of the moment to provide any of those families with joy or peace. Yet God desires us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he does have the answers we need and seek. In those moments isn’t that exactly what we need to know – that God does know what we are going through and that he does want us to never have any doubts that he is with us,
As we celebrate this feast of the Mother of God we are reminded that her Christmas week was anything but joyful. Mary and Joseph had to endure a hard journey to Bethlehem because Herod called for a census of all Jews. Don’t you think Mary would have preferred to stay home with her mother and family around her as she gave birth? You can imagine her concern as inn keepers kept saying go away we have no rooms. Can you imagine the indignity of having to give birth in a stable with no family or friends around. You can bet she would have preferred a comfortable home or inn with assistance from midwives instead of a stable and no one to assist.
Mary’s great gift to us was her absolute trust in God to provide. How did she attain that level of faith? We too easily attribute this great faith to her being prepared from the moment of her conception for her role in the salvation of us all. I happen to believe that is a mistake we easily make and by doing so we miss an opportunity to learn what God is teaching us about our relationship with him.
You must understand that each of us has been prepared from the moment of our conception for our role in bringing Christ to the world. Please don’t make me go over all those passages of scripture that tells us just that fact. if you have read my blog for any time you have seen them enough. If you haven’t then you truly must start reading the bible for your own spiritual growth not for study but to understand who you are. The scriptures tell us “…we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
It is in the scriptures we will discover the truth of God’s desire for us even in the midst of tragedy and pain. If we begin to read what God promises us in his word and if we embrace them as unfailing truths about God’s desire for us we will begin to grow in a Mary like faith?
I invite you to read these words given to us by God and make them your daily prayer for the next week.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired and vigorous young men stumble badly yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (Isa. 40:28-31).
How did Mary endure all she endured? She trusted God who promised that he would help her overcome weariness and all hardships because his eyes never leave her or us. God promises us that we will gain new strength to endure all things that come against us. God promises us power to overcome and to endure no matter how badly we stumble and fall. God promises us that we will soar like eagles above all trials and we will never be beaten down by any circumstances of life.
What can we learn from Mary – trust comes from knowing the heart and the promises of God. It is our time to bring Christ the world – so let us begin our own journey to the heart of God.