I've been sitting here trying to find some kind of Christmas joy. I have done all the things. Baked some cookies. Went to all the programs and banquets and recitals.
Christmas is in 5 days. I'm very selfishly dreading it. I don't have the brain capacity to make it fun and happy and cheerful for everyone. Its supposed.to be freezing cold so we will all be home together. Which can be joyful or stressful.
So many of my friends are suffering and struggling through things so much worse then a houseful of needy kids. My heart has been hurting for so many and yet I have no extra time to serve others. I pray frequently and try to speak encouragement. But so many people in my life are walking through hard hard things. Deeply horribly painful things.
Tonight at bedtime I was discussing the story of Jesus birth with the kids. Graci is really grasping that Jesus was born in a barn. She wonders if he was scared of the animals. If he was as tiny as her friend's baby sister.
I was mulling over this. I had seen a meme on fb something about Mary was favored. But she suffered deep pain.
I realized we forget the true story of Christmas. The angel told Mary she was favored. The world told her she was promiscuous. She was judged and an outcast. She was young. I can't imagine this was easy for her. Her fiancee wanted to dump her. He too thought the worst of her. It took an angel to get him to believe her. Can you imagine all the embarrassment and pain she suffered during this time?
Then... She had her baby in a barn. How many times do you think she questioned how she could be favored and this be the son of God if God didn't even provide an inn for her to have her baby?! She must have felt abandoned by her people and her God. She must have had so many questions.
Then it wasn't her mom and her relatives who came to see the baby. It was dirty shepherds. Now imagine how people talked about her and her baby?!
Over the years people probably forgot all about that. Time marched on. Then then he started preaching. She knew who he was. She knew he was the son of God. By now she also knew that this would not being her honor and fame. But it would bring her pain and heartache. It would probably bring loneliness because people probably thought she was crazy.
So a shout out to all my hurting friends, my struggling friends and my friends walking g dark valleys. Your hard stuff doesn't mean God abandoned you. Your hard stuff my just be happening because you are one of God's favored children. Because it is through suffering that we really get to know who Jesus is.