I know I’ve been posting a lot about the baby lately. I mean, he’s the guy I spend most of my time with these days. And I promise that this is writing related, but unless you haven’t guessed yet, it’s also about the baby.
My church decided to put together an Advent Devotional this year – twenty five stories (one for each day of Advent) on what Christmas means to the congregation, one for you to read each day. A fun writing assignment for church?!?! I submitted. And of course Christmas means a different thing to me now that I’m mothering, which I started during the Christmas season. I’m December 6th in the booklet, so I feel good about posting it here. Especially because the only way for you to get one yourself is to go to the church and pick up a copy in person.
(Before you continue, here is also your warning for uber-religious sentimentality. It happens sometimes.)
What Christmas Means to Me:
My first son was born last Thanksgiving, and so my family charged into Christmas a little more filled with joy than usual. He’s the first grandchild, after all, and the result of many years of prayer. My entire extended family rallied to my side like Wise Men as I recovered, sharing the holiday season with us and bringing gifts of clean laundry, lunch, and naps.
I imagine that any family would feel a deeper connection to the Christmas season with an infant to share it with. I had expectations of what that would be like. I expected to feel new respect for Mary, for her tough journey and frightening birth.
But what I didn’t expect was the wide and tangible aura of potential in the air. It hovered like a halo around my son, Asher. In every moment friends and family spent with us, I saw the deep love that Asher inspired in everyone he met. He seemed to belong not to me, but to the world. And the love that he gathered and then dispersed out again was deeper than anything I had previously experienced.
The song “Mary Did You Know,” is a favorite one around the holiday season. I used to wonder the same as the song, if she knew what that small baby in her arms would become. But now I can guess. A few simple words in Luke 2:19 tell the story, in a paragraph filled with shepherds and prophecies, the whole world rallying to her baby’s side: “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
If I could look down at my swaddled son sleeping in the dim light of the Christmas tree last year and see the possibility he holds, how much more did Mary look down at the Christ-child in the lamplight of the manger and see the divine love that filled her own son up full? Couple that with the miracle of his conception, and I’m sure she at least guessed at the transformation her son would give to humanity.
Because with Jesus, of course, all things are possible.
And nothing represents that more than a small and sleepy child who belongs firmly to us, but not to us alone; a child who belongs to the world.