I hope all who are reading this are having a wonderful Christmas season with their families. But I do have one question:
Is anyone else tired out there?
Since the holidays have kicked in full force, I have become sleep deprived. My 20 year old is home from college, my 18 year old is a senior in high school (enough said) and my 15 year old is a sophomore who is having to drive a lot with me to get prepared for her driver’s test March 1. Their sleeping habits make me think they could possibly be vampires. Sweet vampires, not the creepy, bloody kind. Their instinct is to sleep well into the morning and their batteries get recharged starting around 10 pm. By 10 pm, I need my battery to be jumped because it’s dead. My eyes pop open by 6 am no matter what time I go to bed. Thanks a lot, kids…the hereditary dark skin around my eyes is becoming more pronounced each day.
I’m thinking of renaming my website/blog from Leaving The Light On to Turn the Stupid Lights Off. Guess the love has worn off some…
But who am I kidding? It’s fabulous having everyone together – even if it’s just for a short time. The Christmas season makes me nostalgic and more retrospective than any other time (it also makes me want to tackle and kiss the person who invented the stretchable fabric in yoga pants). Whenever I start getting in the retrospective type of mood, my husband magically finds some project to start. Just kidding. Sort of.
Oh, and having a cold snap last more than 24 hours helps the Christmas mood. There’s just something wrong with hearing Dean Martin swoon Baby, It’s Cold Outside on the radio when it’s 75 plus degrees outside. I guess if you live in Houston, you could rename the classic to Baby, You Can Make It Cold Inside.
But no matter the temperature outside, I enjoy reading the biblical Christmas story again during the holidays.
My Sunday school teacher, Jeaneane Simonton, affectionately nicknamed Simo, has the ability to hit me with a 2×4 between my eyes with her lessons. This past week at church, she told my class how she gleaned a different perspective of the Christmas story while she was reading Luke 2.
You all know the story, but I’ll paraphrase anyway…the young virgin Mary, a 14-ish year old (wow) Hebrew girl, gave birth to Jesus in the stable because there was no room at the inn. She laid the baby Jesus in a manger, also known as a trough, where the stable animals fed. On a side note, I am guessing that God must have dulled the olfactory senses of people 2,000 years ago – can you imagine the stench that would be wafting through the stable where baby Jesus was born? I would be gagging my way through that special night. But obviously, Mary was a team player and not a complainer.
Back to the point and the new perspective Simo gave us. When Mary gave birth to Jesus, she brought forth something holy that became a blessing to others. Obviously, the process involved pain, but the pain would eventually subside and a blessing would be born to all of mankind. And Mary must have experienced fear because one of the first things the angel Gabriel said to her was, “Do not be afraid…” Apparently, she needed that confirmation because she was being told she would birth one who would be called “Son of the Most High” (excuse me, Gabriel?); she was an engaged virgin – and I’m assuming she knew she would be an outcast in society for being a pregnant husbandless woman.
But Mary surrendered. And Mary trusted. She said to the angel, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” I think my life up to this point might have been a tad more productive if I had the same bent as Mary. Mary agreed to bear the child, even under humanly impossible circumstances. But she must have known deep down that God is able to do the impossible.
Simo challenged our Sunday school class to ask ourselves a question this holiday season and in the new year: is there something new that God wants to bring forth, or birth, in your life?
Forgiveness? Compassion? Surrender? A lack of fear? Unconditional love for someone specific? And the list goes on…
But just like Mary, bringing forth something new in our life might involve doubt, pain, or fear. But if God is truly calling you to bring something new forth, it will be a blessing to you and a blessing to others. Not necessarily an easy process, but a holy one. And it all starts with surrender.
So this Christmas season, I’ll pass Simo’s challenge on to you that was passed on to me. May we bring forth something new and holy this Christmas season and new year. Even if it seems impossible, remember God is able to do what we think is impossible.
Prayerfully, it won’t involve being in a smelly stable.