"She gave birth to her firstborn, a Son"
"Jesus said, 'It is finished.' "
Christmases are like snowflakes, doncha think? No matter how much they may seem alike, they are each different; unique.
Our circumstances change every year. One year you might be single; the next one, married. Maybe you travel some years, and have family come to you other years. Certainly, if you have children, each year is going to have a different feel as your children grow and change; maybe get married or have children of their own.
But I'm not just talking about Christmas Day itself, but the season. I'll never forget the two Christmases I was pregnant. It changed my view of Jesus coming to earth, and made me understand a little of what Mary might have felt. The Christmases when my Amazing and Awesome kids were young, I could not stop thinking about the incredible helplessness of a baby. It still awes me, that the King of Kings chose to come to us in such humility and vulnerability.
The year that I studied the Book of Revelation in Bible Study, I felt more aware of His majesty; of the beauty He left in heaven, to become as a Man here on our dark, dirty, polluted, selfish planet.
This year, though, I'm finding it hard to separate the Baby in the manger, from the Man on the cross. It surprises me to keep finding myself thinking about the crucifixion, during Christmastime. It's almost incongruous, really. When I think of the crucifixion, I think about blood and pain and guilt and agony and humiliation. Jeering and selfishness and thoughtlessness and cruelty.
Christmas is about a baby, innocence, peace and joy. A quiet night, a single star; a willing Mary and a courageous Joseph. Angels and shepherds and wise men.
But this year, I find myself remembering the end of His earthly life, as well as the beginning. Because His purpose for coming ~ to be our Redeemer ~ began in that stable. The crucifixion was not the only time He was thinking of us... was loving us. He gave of Himself from the very beginning.
I have been a little puzzled as to why I've been founding myself thinking about the crucifixion during this Christmas season. But then the other day, I read something that summed up my feelings beautifully, and made me realize I'm exactly where I should be in my thoughts. I have a wise friend, Robert ~ a fellow blogger (to whom you can link here) ~ who often challenges me to think, which is one of my favorite pastimes. He was writing about remembering the true reason for celebrating the season, and his musing on Christmas became about Easter, just as my musing has been doing all month. He summed it up by saying, "for a Christian, every day is Christmas, and every day is Easter."
Now I ask you, does truth get any more real than that? I would like to say that my thoughts return to those two events every day, the way they are this season. Remembering Easter while I'm anticipating Christmas feels like what it should be. It feels like a deeper, more appropriate appreciation of what He did for me. All that He did for me.
Now, if only I can hang on to this feeling in January....
~ "She will give birth to a son...
He will save the people from their sins" ~