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A Renewed Christmas Season

December 21, 2019

       This past month was trying. Heck, the whole semester was. It was one big but beautiful mess of crazy, difficulties, highs, valleys, fun, and everything in between. I wouldn’t trade a moment of it, but now, with time to reflect, I think I might take a big sigh of relief now that it is behind me. Not really a relief from the work that is on pause for a minute, but really a sigh of relief and overwhelming gratitude in how gracious God has been to me this entire past year. I truly did not know what 2019 had for me when I started. I thought I knew Jesus pretty well; I thought I had a grip on what having Him in my heart looked liked. This comfort is precisely what led to my utter shock of His work in my life this year. I knew He was good, but now, I am confident that I will never be able to fully grasp the extent of His goodness. He has showed up in my thoughts in places that I believed I was only in charge of, relationships I thought I was only supposed to handle, and events that I never expected to occur. I am grateful for this process, a gradual refining process of my dirty human heart. In this season particularly, I am especially grateful for the renewed perspective God has given me on Christ’s coming, most specifically on Mary’s relationship to Jesus. Discussing Mary’s reaction to Jesus’ birth and the God-ordained visits to the manger, this verse “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” left me in awe (Luke 2:19). I guess, just naively, I had never truly given much thought to the fact that a normal human just like me carried the God of the Universe, the baby who would become her Savior, in her womb. That is WILD! The beautiful nature of God’s love is shown so evidently in that He invites us, without anything but ordinary, earthly abilities to offer, into His extraordinary plans. When we fully recognize the implications of this truth in our lives, I believe we might just beam with joy as we “treasure” and “ponder” the wonderful work of God and His faithfulness to us like Mary did. At this point in the story, Mary has just had Jesus, and the shepherds had just come to visit the birth of the Savior as God led them to him through an angel’s proclamation and a sky of heavenly hosts. Around 9 months prior to this, Mary had been visited by an angel who told her: “You [Mary] have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High… his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:30-33). Mary was risking her entire reputation, really her entire life, on believing in God’s plan for her life and its blessed role in Jesus’ birth, yet it only took the simple faith of one young woman to bring the most eternally significant and transformative gift in the world. I pray your faith and mine can be rooted in the same proven faithfulness of God that Mary found such confidence in so many years ago. I pray you, like me, can find a renewed perspective on this season, a season of reflection on the quiet, gentle, and humble birth of Jesus. A birth that would mean everything for everyone to come. 

With love and Merry Christmas,


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