“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
Imagine Mary’s Christmas card: “Eventful year: got a visit from an angel, traveled to Judah to visit a pregnant relative (whose baby leaped inside her womb when I arrived), traveled to Bethlehem where I gave birth to God’s Son. Had to lay Him in an animal’s feeding trough (no room in the inn). Shepherds came to visit Him, reporting that angels told them where to find the baby.”
No, Mary didn’t send such a card or tell others. Amazingly, she didn’t boast. Rather, she quietly pondered and reflected on what God was doing.
Mary’s life drastically changed when Gabriel delivered the news of her upcoming divine pregnancy. Think you can’t relate? Mary’s life turned out to be quite different from she’d planned.
Ever wonder how you wound up at your unwanted destination with illness? Has illness changed your social, marital, work, or economic status?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) has caused me to leave full-time teaching. Like many with MS, fatigue limits the amount of time I can socialize.
Christmas seems to make losses feel more painful. How I hated to abandon my tradition of baking cookies for family and friends! I refused to forgo my practice of mailing Christmas cards. Those represented my only tie to friends contacted once a year. Weak and painful hands made it impossible to continue personalized notes. My solution: I type one letter with updates to send to everyone.
Christmas doesn’t have to represent losses. Mary held onto God’s work in her life. She reflected on His divine plan and cherished the amazing events. That’s something you can keep too.
Christ entered our world and experienced pain. Pain far greater than we’ll ever endure. That’s something to ponder and treasure!
Consider His unconditional love and keep Him in your heart. Emmanuel: God with us!
Prayer: Dear Father, Help me know how to grieve my losses while celebrating all I have in You. I pray that Christmas decorations, songs, and traditions will all be reminders of Your unconditional love for me. Thank You for the gift of Your Son and for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Though I may not be able to afford to give extravagant gifts to loved ones, remind me that I can always share Your free gift of salvation–made possible by Christ’s willingness to fulfill Your plans. Help me reflect Your love during holiday gatherings. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
About the Author:
Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 33-year-old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her blog, she reaches out to other mothers of children with mental illness. http://mentalillnessmom2mom.net/ . Vicki wrote a picture book about bullying: Heart Eyes: Beth and the Bullies. You can find out more about that book by visiting her Heart Eyes website: http://www.hearteyes.net
In spite of your losses, how has God changed your life for the better?
This has been a favorite Christmas song of mine for many years–“Breath of Heaven” with Amy Grant. This beautiful video with scenes from the movie, “The Nativity” gives you a glimpse into this time in Mary’s life and all of the emotions she must have experienced. I hope that whatever your circumstances, it gives you a chance to wonder what God may be doing in your own life–like Mary’s–even through the fears and losses. -Lisa