I was hoping, as were my sisters, that Christmastime in Blogville would be a lot more magical than it ended up being. I speak in the past tense because there are only 12 days until Christmas. But you understand, don’t you? You get what it’s like in our homes because I’m certain you yourself are experiencing the very same things. Putting up trees, spending time with your kids and spouse watching the copious amount of Christmas TV programming, and wrapping presents. (Or if you’re like me … frantically buying gifts off of Amazon.) There’s a lot of hustle and bustle going into the season. So you understand why the posts have been infrequent and the ideas haven’t been pouring out of us. Forgive us. 🙂
This post isn’t filled with cute DIY ideas or a last minute Hail Mary for the perfect Christmas dinner. It’s actually rather personal.
The other day as I cleaned my house (for the bazillionth time this week) a song came on Pandora called “Joseph’s Lullaby.” (by MercyMe) I kept cleaning but listened intently and my pregnant hormones got the best of me and made me a little weepy. Especially when these words rang out,
“I believe the glory of Heaven
Is lying in my arms tonight
Lord, I ask that He for just this moment
Simply be my child…“
As a kid-less individual this probably wouldn’t have moved me as much as it did. As a non-pregnant individual I’m still certain I wouldn’t have cried. But I caught myself thinking of exactly the weight that rested on the shoulders of Mary and Joseph. Now, a mother’s love knows no bounds, and if you have a mother in law you understand this better than anyone. I don’t discredit the struggle that Mary endured as she gave birth to a son that would then give His all for the same who denied Him. But this song made me focus heavily on Joseph’s part. We often skip over this. It made me observe my husband.
A marine, a husband, a man’s man, and a father.
I think all men are protective by nature, and I tried to comprehend the sacrifice that Joseph had to make. At first he moved his very pregnant wife for the census, clearly they knew how far along she was. I’m sure they had to stop for her to pee like 400 times. And the donkey ride most likely caused a few contractions. Heck, it may have induced the labor. My husband hated himself the whole 1900 miles to Wyoming even though I had already given birth a week and a half before.
Imagine being Joseph and having to travel with your super pregnant, super cranky, super tired wife? God bless the man. But then to witness the birth of his Savior and see his wife in labor. (With no epidural … in a barn …) To sit there and marvel at this tiny human – his tiny human – and realize that His days were numbered. Did they know when Jesus would have to give His life for us? I remember watching my husband hold our daughter for the first time. I was still a little loopy and tired, but I remember.
I’m sure Joseph experienced those same feelings. I imagine he looked down at the tiny Savior and felt that flood of emotions and fear. But how compounding those feelings must have been to know that his wife just brought forth the King. The Savior of the World. And to know that in his arms slept the very same person who would hang on a cross and physically represent, for all time, the closing of a great divide between ourselves and the Creator of heaven & earth. It’s overwhelming just being a dad and not sleeping at night with the introduction of a newborn, but Joseph held the Savior.
He was the earthly father of the Answer to the World.
Now, God’s plans are greater than ours. He had a plan for every part of the journey. He knew why Mary had to go along for the ride for the census, He knew why His son would be born in a barn in Bethlehem, and He knew why he would choose Joseph as the earthly father. But this Christmas I’m focusing heavily on just how much these two had to sacrifice. And how everything I think is a significant struggle or sacrifice in my life is pale in comparison to having to give up my child for the cause of many.
Pastors around the world this Christmas will stand at their pulpits (or if they’re hip and “progressive” will sit on their bar stool and drink their Starbucks Americano ironically) and tell you, “I would never give my child for any of you. And I love you. But not more than my child.” And the truth is … I wouldn’t either. I couldn’t. My husband physically could not give up his daughter, but we are talking about a man who will gladly lay down his life for this country as a marine. So this Christmas as you cuddle your sweet babes and share all of the experiences that come with having a child this time of year, give them an extra squeeze and thank the Lord that He had a plan. That He chose two people who could trust Him and trust His plan. That they, from the very moment of Christ’s conception, released their grasp and with open hands submitted to the will of God.
Christmas as an adult … As a parent. Goodbye are the days of our own Christmas lists and wishes. We wrap the presents, take the bites out of the cookies and carrots that we “left for Santa and the reindeer,” and try to sneak in a Christmas Day nap. We sit back and marvel our little ones, with delight and excitement, and for the first time in our lives we comprehend the Reason for it all. A story riddled with sacrifice from His moment of conception. A sacrifice ultimately and solely for us. How wonderful!
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you! Hopefully in the coming days we will provide something a little less heavy, and a little more sweet … like a cookie recipe or two. 🙂