Life seems extremely uncertain these days. Unpredictability abounds at an almost dizzying pace. Stability, if you can find it, is as rare as dinosaur teeth. The way many of us imagined life would be has taken a U-turn or fallen off the cliff. These are difficult times indeed.
A few days ago I saw an unusually beautiful drawing of the Nativity. I’ve always been mesmerized by the life of Mary and Joseph and their timeless journey to Bethlehem. But for some reason the thought of their struggle took on a more personal meaning. If nothing else, their difficulties reminded me that life has always been challenging.
So much about their moment in history has been romanticized through pictures, stories, carols and the like. But only focusing on their life in a ritualistic way can trivialize the extreme difficulty endured by two people who walked through some very stress filled moments.
They had no idea how their situation would turn out. There was no Christmas Story to read. No Nativity scene to help make sense of their new reality. All they knew is that their lives had been completely interrupted and totally hijacked by a set of circumstances they could have never imagined.
How could they possibly have planned for something like this? What friend or family member could they confide in who understood their dilemma? Everything about their situation went against all they had been taught, all they had taken comfort in, all they had planned for, and all they looked to as “normal.” Sound familiar?
Well, maybe this is the Christmas we get to see their life as not being that much different from our own. Maybe this is the Christmas we take time to empathize with their fear and anxiety about the future. Maybe this is the Christmas when we recognize their feelings of loneliness, isolation and disenfranchisement. Maybe this is the Christmas we identify with how nerve wracking it can be to tread a new path through the darkness.
Maybe this is the Christmas we understand their disillusionment with an upside down world and its’ nonsensical priorities. Maybe this is the Christmas we share in their struggle to forgive prideful, out-of-touch leaders consumed with self-preservation. Maybe this is the Christmas we share their exhaustion from an overdose of confusion, despair and uncertainty.
And just like Mary and Joseph, we have no clear vision of what the coming days may hold. Most likely it will be uncharted waters for the world and our nation. I’m certain our faith and faithfulness will be challenged in new and unimaginable ways.
But, maybe this is the Christmas when we take time to notice a simple, unassuming man and woman struggling to hear God’s voice in the midst of unprecedented challenges. Maybe this is the Christmas we fully understand that only the presence of Jesus gave meaning to their journey and that His glorious appearance was their reward at the journey’s end. And maybe, just maybe, this is the Christmas we finally accept Peace and Life as the free gift it has always been.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)
Ms. Lowery is a freelance writer and Christian Counselor. She resides in Young Harris, Georgia with her husband. She received her B.S. from Kennesaw University and has served as a prayer counselor for people in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. For more information you may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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