24 December 2010

On Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas from all of us here....finally the days of December are full and it's time to celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Here's some happenings at our home....I thought this picture of the little lady reading a chapter book with the baby nearly stepping on her head was pretty funny.

Meet Tom and Holly.  I'm sure you can figure out who's who.  These two bears have brought endless entertainment for the children this December.

I was annoyed with Brian when he allowed Dawsy to spend some of his birthday money on Tom at the Christmas tree farm....we have enough stuffed animals, I thought.  But for $4.00, I don't think you could buy something that would provide so many hours of fun.

They have a boat, a plane, and many other vehicles.  There's a whole wardrobe furnished by Noelle's dolls.  (You'll see her hair pretties, too).  Many other animals have been vying for Holly's hand in marriage (the kids witnessed the real Tom and Holly's wedding this summer).  But apparently there's an announcement that a marriage will take place on Christmas Day!
Congratulations, Tom and Holly, you couldn't have picked a more celebratory day for your union!

Here are Tom and Holly on a sled.  I hear they were at the North Pole yesterday...somehow the children got ahold of foam (for all you new moms, fear foam and quickly get it out of the house).  This foam snuck in and I didn't know about it till I heard them all yelling "Snow, snow."  Then it was too late so we went with it.  In this picture they are watching the snow melt (aka vaccuuming).  Then they were headed to Ethiopia for some warm weather.

It's amazing to watch them capture joy and Christmas and all that's wrapped up in it.  I've thoroughly enjoyed celebrating with them and through them this December.

The candles flicker on the mantle, lighting over the bowed wise men.  The white lights fill the tree in the corner and underneath a Prestige Red Poinsettia beckons for admiration.  How all these symbols became part of the celebration of Christ's birth I don't know.

It's sure beautiful, though.  The symbols (well, many of them), as well as the reason for celebrating.

I think about Mary.  How she chose to trust God.  She willingly opened herself up to God's way with her even when it was unknown, unclear, uncertain, uncanny, unconventional.

She was not disappointed.  In pain?  Yes.  Hurting?  Yes.  Disappointed?  No.

Somehow she was able to see that God's way was higher than her way.  To be involved in His work might mean misunderstandings, danger, even death.  Intentionally she chose His way anyway.

Think about it.  When she said to the angel, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said,"  she knew that to be pregnant while betrothed meant death.

Her first provision from the Lord was the angel's information to her...she would be overcome with the Holy Spirit and that's how she would conceive.  Mary didn't have to second guess how she got pregnant.  She knew it was a work of God within her.

The angel also told her about her cousin Elizabeth.  Barren for so many years and now, past childbearing she was miraculously bearing a special child.  Mary was immediately able to go to someone safe who would understand what she was going through.

Not only did Elizabeth understand what she was going through, she also prophesied that Mary was pregnant  with Elizabeth's Lord before Mary even had a chance to say hello.  Talk about confirmation and strength to continue trusting!

She probably helped with Elizabeth's birth and was provided with the knowledge she'd need for her own.

Next was the hurdle with Joseph. Once he found out she was pregnant, what would he do?  He had the power to have her stoned.  But before he could even tell Mary that he was going to have mercy on her by quietly putting her away an angel explained everything to him in a dream.
Once again, God came through. Mary had a righteous man to take care of her and the baby.

Mary's trust had to continue, as they were forced to travel at the time her child was due.  Would they make it to Bethlehem or be stuck on the road in a vulnerable position?  She had to trust through her contractions that somehow God would provide a place for her to labor in privacy, safety, warmth, and comfort.

As Isaiah's prophecies were being recited and fulfilled, I wonder if Mary said some of his words to herself as she followed her Lord.  Maybe she prayed the words "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you;  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."41.10

Mary's opportunities to trust continued throughout her lifetime, but the ultimate trusting and providing is found in the child she carried.  He who spoke the world into being came to provide a hope and an everlasting future for us if we put our trust in Him.

And He who promises is faithful.

A blessed, merry, precious Christmas to you.