What is this elusive “Christmas Spirit” we all want to have & feel?
I don’t presume to know for you, but for me, when I stop thinking about all the hustle and bustle of the season, and start to reflect on Mary and Joseph, that’s when I get there.
Of course it’s about Jesus, Immanuel, God with us! But I think about Him everyday of the year!
What overwhelms me personally during the Christmas season is to think about how humbled and inadequate Mary and Joseph must have felt to have been entrusted with this amazing baby, the Son of God.
“Why us?” they must have asked themselves over and over. To look on His tiny face, and somehow know, but not fully understand, that this was GOD Incarnate… The Messiah, the Savior of the world! Their Savior too, who would one day have to die for their own sins. (Not sure they fully understood this at the Nativity, but they would come to understand it.)
That’s when I am overwhelmed by the awesomeness of it all!
This young engaged couple, poor by the worlds standards, with nothing of any worldly significance to offer… and yet they were the chosen of God for this awesome role.
Now married, but starting their marriage with such a huge responsibility on their shoulders! Oh, how I wish the Bible recorded some of their personal conversations as they started their lives together. (I will definitely ask them about this when I meet them in Heaven!)
My favorite Christmas songs are the ones from Mary or Joseph’s perspective. “Mary Did You Know?” by Mark Lowry, and “Joseph’s Song,” by Michael Card, among many others. They are the ones that make me tear up the quickest! I can’t imagine what they went through… the feelings of total inadequacy they must have gone through!
Feeling like you had failed God when you had to make your fully pregnant wife ride all the rough miles to Bethlehem on a donkey. When you couldn’t find warm, safe, shelter for her, or even a mid-wife, as the time of her labor and delivery approached. When all you could find was a stable, a little barn, for your beloved wife to give birth in, and then a manger… an animal feeding trough, to lay God’s Son in… and yet…
This was ALL part of God’s beautiful and sovereign plan!
Watching as shepherds and Wise men came and bowed down to your little baby. As prophecies and blessings were said over Him by strangers. Escaping the deadly wrath of an angry and jealous king who was trying to ruthlessly kill your helpless and innocent child… God’s Son.
Throughout Jesus’s childhood, they must have continued to be awestruck by their own son. (Mary’s through birth, Joseph’s by “adoption”) Mouth dropping awestruck! No sin in this child. No need for punishment, spankings, scoldings, time-outs, etc. Jesus’s little half-siblings, Mary and Joseph’s children together, James, Joses, Simon, Judas, and His unnamed sisters, (Matthew 13)… wow, what a difference in their behavior! That must have made them look at Jesus and wonder. (Poor little James, having to be the first to live in Jesus’s perfect shadow, … can’t imagine what that was like!)
Jesus’s pure goodness, in contrast even to their own real and perceived failures, always reminding Mary and Joseph of this crazy thing God had called them to do. Parent the Son of God!
Impossible! They must have thought!
Yet, they both willingly yielded to God’s will and call, and purpose in their life.
These are the thoughts that make me overwhelmed with the so-called “Christmas Spirit.”
These are also the thoughts that give me hope when, for the life of me, I’m doing my best, but it seems so inadequate, and like I am utterly failing God’s call in my life. The story of Mary and Joseph gives me an illustrated hope that God is working out all things for my good, whether I see it or not. That He is in control, and I need to trust His hand and sovereignty in my life.
I am so thankful for this amazing Gift God has given us, this little baby of Christmas time, who would grow up to be the sinless sacrifice for all the world’s sins, and my personal Savior and friend. He truly is an “unspeakable Gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15)
I hope He is yours too, but if not, perhaps the real “Christmas Spirit” can be yours this year, if you put your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today.
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