Although this was our first Christmas as a married couple, it really didn't feel like it at all because of our move. Since we were moving, I did not put up any decorations, only festive Christmas hand towels, which is not much of anything. Both Adam and I come from families who put up many decorations and enjoy this part of the holiday season. I did not get around to putting up our decorations early because school was very busy as I was finishing the semester. I hit up Target and got a few more additions to our Christmas decorations, so next year our home will be fully festive. We also decided not to start any of our own traditions until next year. So....we will experience a complete "first" Christmas together next year. We spent Christmas eve night and Christmas morning with the Zickefoose family and spent the other half of Christmas with the Cooney family. Our day was busy but we experienced much love as we love spending time with our families. Here is a picture of us on Christmas Eve, in front of the Zickefoose family tree. As Christmas came and gone, something that had me thinking during this season has been the story of Mary. The passage in Luke 1:26-38 captures Mary very well: 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Mary was frightened at the sight of the Angel that God sent and could not fathom that God had chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah. Even as the Angel comforted her and told her that she had found favor in God, Mary still did not understand. She questioned the Angel even further when she said in verse 34, "how can this be if I am still a virgin?" Despite all of Mary's doubts, questions, and concerns, Mary still believed. Her faith should be a reflection of what our lives should be. God might give light to things He wants us to do, and we might sit back and question Him, forgetting that we are dealing with God, the all-knowing, most powerful and mighty God; the ruler of everything. If He calls us to do something, why do we question him, instead of trusting in Him, knowing that He has a plan and a reason for everything?
Mary's faith is still inspiring to me, two thousands years later. A song on Faith Hill's Christmas album is what started me reflecting on Mary during the Christmas season. The song is entitled, A Baby Changes Everything, which beautifully captures Mary's struggle. Here are the lyrics to the song: Teenage girl, much too young Unprepared for what's to come A baby changes everything Not a ring on her hand All her dreams and all her plans A baby changes everything A baby changes everything The man she loves she's never touched How will she keep his trust? A baby changes everything A baby changes everything And she cries! Ooh, she cries Ooh, oh She has to leave, go far away Heaven knows she can't stay A baby changes everything She can feel it's coming soon There's no place, there's no room A baby changes everything A baby changes everything And she cries! And she cries! Oh, she cries Shepherds all gather 'round Up above the star shines down A baby changes everything Choir of angels sing Glory to the newborn King A baby changes everything A baby changes everything Everything, everything, everything Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah
Here is a live performance of the song. Adam and I wish you all a very merry CHRISTmas!