Luke 1:30-31 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
I was recently asked to write a devotional for our church. I was encouraged to share a moment in my life that changed what Christmas meant to me. I spent a lot of time digging through Christmas memories. I tried and tried to find that one moment in time when the tree lit up, snow starting falling, and I realized the true meaning of Christmas. Turns out, that never happened. You see, I have been so blessed in life. My mother has spent every year of her life teaching us to celebrate the birth of Christ, the miracle of Christmas, and the beauty of giving. As children we spent hours preparing beautiful items for our friends, neighbors, and family members. We could hardly wait to give gifts. We sang about baby Jesus and his ever faithful parents. My Christmas history is full of beauty.
So naturally I turned to Google. I Googled “Bible verse Christmas,” hoping to find some inspiration. And after scrolling halfway down the page, I saw Luke 1:30-31. “And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.”
As I read this verse, screams came from my kitchen. I jumped up, ran in and found Hank with his head in the fridge and Gus hanging from the back of Hank’s shirt. I sorted them out, reminded them to be nice to each other, because that is what Jesus wants, and handed then each a cup of juice. “The angel should have told Mary that babies turn into toddlers.” I muttered.
And then I had it. My moment that changed my feelings on the birth of Christ. When I think of Mary, I think of a beautiful young woman, scared but brave, riding a donkey. In my vision of her, she is wearing a blue robe, 9 months pregnant, and exhausted. Why is it that we see her in this moment? Pregnancy and birth is difficult and painful. Motherhood is so much more. Mary wasn’t a pregnant lady, she was a mother. Mary did not just give birth to Jesus, she raised him. When that angel spoke to her, she should have been told “Mary, God has chosen you to bear his child. Your life will be forever changed. He is asking you to rock Jesus to sleep, hold his hand when he is afraid, wipe his tears, teach him to walk, let your food get cold while you help him with his, worry endlessly, love unconditionally.” That is what the angel should have said.
This Christmas I will continue to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I will thank God for the gift of His Son. And this year, I will thank Mary. I will thank her for all the diapers she had to change, all the clothes she had to mend, all the cups she had to refill, all the toddler tantrums she had to endure. I will not see her as a pregnant young woman on the back of a donkey. I will see her as a mother. The Mother. I will not see her as a woman who carried and gave birth to baby Jesus. I will see her as The Mother who raised, taught, and loved the man who saved us from our sins.
Merry Christmas to you all.
And a few moments of our Christmas with two toddlers….