Not ready for Christmas? Me neither. If I could just stop time this week. There are just too many gifts to buy, presents to wrap, and cookies to bake. The teacher gifts alone can drive me mad. And then there’s my travel schedule. Four cities in five days. Who has time to get ready for Christmas?
Sometimes, I think if I was a “really good mother” I might finally feel prepared.
But then I look at Mary.
She wasn’t prepared either.
When I look at the birth of Christ I am comforted by Mary’s lack of planning. It doesn’t appear she attended birthing classes or decorated a nursery. She didn’t have a birthing coach, and she was far away from family and friends, traveling to Bethlehem. (She also didn’t bake cookies or run around buying teacher gifts at the last minute!) The amazing thing is that God had prepared her.
I had read the story of Mary and Elizabeth since I was a child but only recently was struck by God’s complete brilliance in using the birth of John the Baptist to prepare Mary for her own labor and delivery. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary and foretold the birth of Christ, Elizabeth—John the Baptist’s mother-to-be—was already six-months pregnant. (Luke 1:56) Mary went to visit Elizabeth and stayed with her three months. Six plus three is nine, so Mary must have stayed for John’s birth. Assuming she did, she would have watched and learned about labor and delivery firsthand from her older cousin Elizabeth. So Mary didn’t have to attend birthing classes or rent a video. How else would a young virgin in the middle of Bethlehem know how to give birth with an inexperienced husband in a stable?
In other words, God is in charge of preparing the way for Christmas, not us.
So, how does Mary teach us to respond?
She says“yes” and trusts God with the details. When the angel Gabriel first appeared to Mary to announce the immaculate birth, listen to her response:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38)
Can getting ready for Christmas really be this simple? Like me, are you struggling to get it all done this year?
[Dear Readers, As many of you have noticed, I’ve taken a break from blogging during this season. Thank you deeply for the kind notes and encouragement. Life is complicated, but God is good and I hope to ramp up writing again in 2015. I miss you dearly! Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. Warmly, Susan]
***Excerpts above from Chasing Superwoman.