Christmas is now exactly 14 days away. I have turned off talk radio and tuned into the Christian radio station to here all of the music that brings me great joy. Every year, there are new songs, new artists and wonderful new inspiration. This year is no exception. It is so sad that we can't carry some of these wonderful songs forward into the new year. Maybe January would seem a little less frigid if we did. I know the Christian stations have music they play year round, but there is just something about some of the lyrics in the Christmas songs that just hits home and really, really makes you think.
I'm going to do a little time travelling for a moment. Over twenty something plus years ago, my husband and I worked with horses and kids, two of my favorite things! You meet such interesting people with both. One of my fondest memories was of an older monk from the monastery just outside Atlanta. He was round and happy and red faced and had such an inspirational way of looking at things. One year, early spring, he brought a load of hay out to us and stood there and talked forever and before he left, he told us Merry Christmas. Say What! It was soon to be March 25th and by his explanation, 9 months to the day that Jesus would have been born, so he celebrated and he called it Little Christmas. What a wonderful thought. Now, some twenty something plus years later, this wonderful jovial man, has passed on, but he is in a place that he was destined to be. He walks with Jesus and has long, long talks with Him everyday. What a blessing! And I am most certain, that Heaven has beautiful fields of grain because of his efforts. Something kind of neat about the March 25th date, is that is the day that God ordained my son to be born. I shared with him today the story of Little Christmas and he just grinned. He rather like the idea of being born on Little Christmas. I think it made his day. His smile made mine.
I have two children, both of which are true blessings to my life, even when they do something so wretched, so self-serving, so snide that I want to shake them until their teeth rattle or drop them on their pointy little heads, I see beyond the situation and think about the boo boo's, tummy aches and nightmares. Their whole lives, I encouraged, I loved, I sacrificed, I dreamed, I believed, I hugged and I tried to lead each of them in a direction that would bring them to a successful adult life. Someone reminded me more than once that at some point, you have to let them grow up, in spite of themselves. Truer words never spoken. Some of us have kids that are amazingly talented, actually, all of us have kids that are amazingly talented, but perhaps that talent is not necessarily playing piano, cheering or football. Their talent could be as a visionary, a writer, a prophet, a counselor, an aspiring chef, an artist or perhaps an actor. It doesn't matter. That gift was planted in them by God. He gave them the ability from the moment they took their first breath and as their parents, it was our job to coax it along and nurture and love and teach.
So here I sit, with a 25 year old daughter with the strength to move mountains and the ability to recreate their beauty on a canvas, and an almost 20 year old son that could create laughter or drama for any situation. I love them both more than either will ever know. But the one gift that they each received from God, was a heart of gold. I think that makes me beam just as much as the creative side.
I find a lot of my serenity through music. It calms me, inspires me, teaches me and very often sets me straight on some things. I think that is one reason I enjoy Christmas music so much, not just the silly stuff, but the serious make you think about where it all started and why stuff. So as I sit here writing, drawing inspiration, I began to think about the words of sadness that were pouring out from a dear dear friend as she shared her heartbreak. Essentially, her children are growing up, in spite of themselves. Yes, I said in spite of themselves. I used that phrase about my own two kids as well. Watching them grow and learn and become "people" and not just a kid is sadness and joy all wrapped up in one. Now, maybe it's time for a little insight about you, the momma or the daddy. It is time to learn that there is great joy in the experience as well. Face facts, you know from the moment that your little one is placed in your arms, that he/she will always be "little one". These are not stagnating creatures that torment our lives for 18 plus years. They will not stay little except in that very special corner of your heart. They grow up! They learn to do right and wrong, they develop attitudes and sometimes you would like them to be invisible. But after everything is over and done, when your child grows up to be your best friend, you know that you've done something right, because they are the kind of person that you want to be with as a friend. It's hard. I know it is. I'm going through it right now. You think about all of the times that there were tears and hurt feelings or disappointment. You think of the times that they may have leaped into bed with you because of a thunderstorm or bad dream. Some may still seek comfort and solace to this day, and secretly tiptoe into momma's room and curl up on the floor next to her because just knowing she is an arm's length away brings them comfort and peace. You think about all of those times and you wonder how they are going to make it on their own. You know what, that's when you have to let God step in and take it from there. It's His job now, and theirs to follow Him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Back to Christmas, sorry, but I promise you that all of this really does tie together. Take a moment and think back over 2000 years ago, a young girl, and I do mean young, probably barely a teenager, is visited by an angel who tells her in no uncertain terms, that she has conceived the Child of God, the Savior, The Messiah, Wonderful Counselor. Can you even imagine how she felt? Scared to death, in shock, probably, but her faith carried her through. Some of us have children that are older than Mary was at the time Jesus was conceived, that still find that comfort spot on the floor next to our beds. Can you imagine, and to top it off, she was only engaged, betrothed as the Bible says, to a man much older. How would he take this news? How would he handle the stares, the comments, the possibility of becoming an outcast. There are a couple of answers here, but ultimately the two that come to mind are faith and love.
They took their journey one step at a time, and with every step that was taken, their faith grew, their bond grew and their love grew not just for each other, but for the child that was soon to be born.
I made one of those "momma" to the rescue trips a couple of nights ago, 55 miles each way to the town where my daughter and son-in-law live. Funny thing about it, when I got home from work, I had a headache that would have stopped a speeding train, but when my daughter needed me, by miracle, it was gone and I was wide awake and ready to ride. I went by myself. While driving, I had multiple long talks with God and sang Christmas music and I prayed out loud. I actually had a wonderful 3 hours (part of which was spent with my daughter). On my journey home, God made sure that I was paying close attention to a song that I had never heard before. The words were those of Mary, of her doubt, her fear, her faith, her love all being shared with the tiny baby nestled in her arms. I cried. It gave me chills, made me think and the words stayed with me the whole way home, so much so, that I found the song on Youtube and I want to share it with you. It is the beginning of the inspiration that led to his story. I think God may have planned it that way, because when it all sank in, everything else just fell into place.
In closing, this whole story has been about being a parent and teaching and loving our children and having the faith to look to your Savior for guidance and healing. It has been about Being Like Mary. Put yourself in Mary's place. Listen to the song and imagine yourself in that spot some 2000 plus years ago. Feel what she felt, fear what she feared, know that in her heart she wanted to hold on to Him forever, but ultimately, she had to let Him go be the Man that He was destined to be before He could be our Savior.
Merry Christmas. I hope each and every one of you takes a moment to remember what it really IS all about, and as always,
play the video more than once! Watch it all the way through at least one time, and then play it again and scroll back up to the top to the picture of Mary, close your eyes and start your journey.....