Wednesday, December 23, 2020

More Like Mary

As I pen this, we leave tomorrow morning for Christmas in Kansas.

My to-do list looms as travel and Christmas nears:

Finish Christmas shopping 

Line up help for farm chore work while we’re away

Pack the kids, and myself for the trip

Wrap and pack all gifts to haul 12 hours

Take care of all professional business that still goes on this time of year

Get Christmas cards addressed, stamped, and to the post office

Line out plans and a menu for Indiana Christmas with my family upon our return

Worry about things I shouldn’t, including but not limited to buying too much for our kids, buying gifts that aren’t practical and will add to someone’s junk pile, somehow finding the gifts I bought and hid in May, and beyond. 


Despite a constant effort to keep Christmas simple and meaningful with the heart of the holiday at the center of everything we do, boy do I feel like I’m failing. 

I think to Luke 1:26-33 

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Let me get this straight. I’m superficially stressed about getting presents bought and wrapped and menus organized during the week of Christmas and virgin Mary had an angel show up to her door and tell her she’s going to have God’s baby? 

How’s that for perspective? Where did my heart for Christmas go so wrong?

When we were young we’d open tiny paper doors on an Advent calendar December 1 – 24. For 24 days we’d learn the story of the birth of Christ and the 24th door was always the one covering the baby in the manger. It was the greatest ending to the perfect story.

I searched for an advent calendar in November to continue that special tradition with our kids. I found calendars filled with candy, various toys, wine, chocolate, horses, jewelry, and more. Is Christmas so commercialized that even the days of Advent are filled with daily gifts, trinkets, and junk? Unfortunately yes. It took some searching, but I finally found one as simple as ours from the 1980s. And a note: I later found an even better advent calendar at the Shoppes of East Main in Hagerstown. I’ll be buying ours there, next year.

Oh, how I long to be more like Mary. Less about gifts and food and festivities and more about the heart of the matter: the birth of Christ. Less about a to-do list that dictates my busy activity and more about the daily work that matters: raising children who know and love Jesus. 

Luke 2:19 tells us that Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Not the gifts (though I’m sure the frankincense made the stable smell fantastic) or the food (though I’m sure she was starving after such an event). 


More like Mary requires treasuring up all of these things that are quite significant past December 25, spending time in quiet reflection of the incredible event that took place in the manger, and most importantly, having a heart that trusts God’s plan. 


I must pause here, as our son has brought me a large, interesting ball of what appears to be scotch tape, bailing twine, toilet paper, and Barbie hair. Perhaps I better wrap up my lofty goal writing of being more like Mary and just get back to being a farm mom. 

Merry Christmas

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