Faith and Christmas

I am now in my Christmas wheelhouse. Decorating is done and opening another flap on our Advent Calendar has become habit for Lisa and I. Lisa finished up her decorating and I think we have presents enough to surround our tree. Oh yeah, the tree is up too.

So now begins the real work of Christmas. It is time to think about the story of Mary and Joseph traveling with baby Jesus who was yet to be born. It’s time to think of the night of the Savior’s birth and the excitement as people found out about the birth. It is my time to be both reverent but to get something meaningful from the celebration.

It’s easy to get excited about Christmas when it is all about gifts and food and drink-I like all that stuff too. But the story of Christmas is something that really has to be learned repeatedly before you can appreciate it. To memorize the story is not that difficult but appreciate it is a little more difficult. The story is so outside my experience that it is kind of hard to fathom.

I think the story of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem is inspiring but it also makes me uncomfortable. I would have found their trip to be daunting. I think mothers today avoid travel when they are close to giving birth and they would certainly avoid travel via donkey. Then accepting vulnerability would be another huge step as Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus were very vulnerable at this time. I guess they believed that they were part of something special and relied on faith to carry them through a situation that the human mind might not understand.

That’s the message; faith. To reach outside yourself and believe might be the one thing a modern person would find most difficult. People today often make their decisions based upon the actions of a crowd. If there aren’t several positive reviews or a poll to support an action then the person may never commit to the action.

Mary and Joseph accepting God’s love and the responsibility of bringing Jesus into this world was an act of faith. The giving and receiving of responsibility is the basis of many relationships. If Mary and Joseph had asked their friends to review their plans to bring Jesus to this world, the friends probably would not have supported it. To accept the responsibility of bringing Jesus to the world probably did not pencil out. It did however change history.

Maybe one of the things we need to receive from the story of the birth of Jesus is what can happen through faith. Even if you can’t take a poll to prove an idea or show that the idea has worked in the past, faith can make it happen. Even concepts or events that are beyond our understanding can still be born through faith. Maybe, like in Mark 9:23, “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Merry Christmas.

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