Tonight I sat in my office and took in one of my favorite sights: the glow of a Christmas tree in a dark room. This year instead of cutting one down, we got our Christmas tree out of a box from Target. I have to admit it was pretty nice to stand it up without needles getting everywhere, and have the lights already on the tree. I put some pine-tree scented wax into my Scentsy warmer to trick my brain into thinking the tree was real.
I couldn't help but wonder tonight, as I sat in my empty office, where my sense of wonder had gone. I remember as a little girl loving the glowing tree so much that I would sleep on the hard ground in the living room just to be near it. Now, as I looked at the tree I thought about how much work it would be to put it away later.
I find myself, with a growing little child inside of me, wondering how Mary must have felt as she carried Jesus inside of her. I have felt completely debilitated over the last week. Between constant nausea and fatigue, even the most mundane tasks have been daunting. On top of the usual pregnancy symptoms, Mary was a young girl claiming she was pregnant, but a virgin - I can't imagine that being easy. I wonder how she felt when news came that they would have to travel to Bethlehem - by donkey - we're not talking first class, cozy airline seats here.
In all my wondering it occurs to me that life back then may not have been all that different from the way it is now. Mary still felt pain. She still dealt with inconvenience and discomfort. She faced rejection, possible death, shame and her life being turned upside-down. And this is how she responds:
And Mary said,
I'm bursting with God-news;
I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It's exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
Luke 1:46-55 The Message
Hmmm. I'm reading this thinking I could use a little attitude re-focus. I pray for a childlike sense of wonder this Christmas - to remember that Jesus came to the world for imperfect people, like me. We celebrate His birth as the best gift we ever received. That should be enough good news to get through any tough day.