Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Christian Writers Blog Chain: Christmas

When I was a little girl my mother owned a beautiful porcelain nativity set. We didn't have much that money could buy but we did have that. It was lovely and I would spend hours rearranging it every year, replaying the Christmas story and wondering what it would have been like to have been there that day on the hill above Bethlehem, or atop a camel on some dusty road, or as Mary, the one God chose to bless, the one who held and nurtured the Son of God.

It was so long ago, two-thousand years and counting, when that first Christmas took place. No one was busy finishing their last-minute shopping, checking Christmas lights, or laboring over a stove to prepare a gourmet dinner. In fact, most were away from their family and friends that night. It was the census, the governor's edict. Tired and perhaps a little perturbed at their circumstance, there was no reason to celebrate.

And there, amongst the chaos of Bethlehem, was Mary, in labor, without the help of her mother, or the knowledge of a midwife; her husband, desperately seeking shelter for his wife, fearing for her, knowing it was time. She was in pain, tired, and dirty, the dust of the road clinging to her skin and clothes.This would not have been the night she'd have chosen for her Savior, her son, to be born. But with no place else to go, in a stable, surrounded by cow manure and hay, He came. He chose this time and place, It was no accident that it happened this way. He came humbly, in the most innocent and helpless of forms, and in the lowliest of conditions.

For many people, Christmas is not a time of celebration, but of heartache and discord; a time of dread, instead of a time to celebrate. In our memories, the loss of a loved one, or of a split family, homesickness, a lost home, sick and hospitalized family, the list is endless. But, it was at a time like this that Hope chose to be born. And that Hope was Christ Jesus. He exists in the midst of pain and suffering, in times where we don't think we can hang on, when we must settle for the stable, cause it is the only place left we can go.

Christmas is so much more than a holiday. It is a reminder that the most precious gift was not wrapped with fancy paper and a sparkling ribbon, but in swaddling clothes, the poor humble linens of a carpenter's family. The ultimate gift was a baby.

May God bless you as you focus on Him this Christmas season.


This entry was part of the Christian Writers Blog Chain. Please take the time to visit the links on the right. What wonderful things the blog members have to say! You won't be disappointed! :) God bless!


Tracy Krauss said...

I also remember playing with our nativity set as a child. I've always wanted one now that I'm an adult, but I just haven't found the 'right' one. My daughters used to set up their Barbies as the nativity, and one year they made them out of embroidery floss. (Like the little 'Worry Dolls' - which was really cute.) My brother in law carved a bueatiful set out of wood for my sister (he's an artist) Whatever the material, a nativity set is a wonderful reminder of that awesome night long ago.

E G Lewis said...

Nice post, Sarah. Welcome to the Chain.
Your story of the Nativity set reminded of a similar one we had that came every Christmas. Now that old daughter has flown the nest and has children of her own, we've passed it on to her so the tradition can continue.
Have a very Merry hristmas...
Peace and Blessings

Sarah said...

Tracy, I'm also still looking for the 'right' one. :) I do have a miniature glass set that I let my kids play with. But, I guess I keep hoping to run across one like my mother's, someday. The wood one your brother made must be beautiful! My sister is also an artist, but with paints. I would LOVE to have some of that gift! :) Your daughters sound wonderful!! And it is probably even more fun for them to create their own scene! :)

Thank you, EG. What a wonderful tradition to pass on! You have a Merry Christmas as well!

lynnmosher said...

Sarah, wonderful post! I, too, played with the set under my grandparents tree. For a time, my parents and I lived with them. Every year, I looked forward to lying on the floor under the tree and rearranging all the figures. That precious set, though chipped and worn, is now under my tree. Christmas blessings to you!

TraciB said...

Beautiful post, Sarah! We never had a Nativity set growing up, so I didn't have one to play with as a child. Still, I remember thinking about what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph, and your post illustrated the scene vividly.

Merry Christmas, my sister!

Sarah said...

Neat idea, Lynn. I never thought of putting it under the Christmas tree. I think that would be a great way to illustrate Jesus as being THE "gift." :)

Merry Christmas to you as well, TraciB! :D I hope your day is beautiful!

Sheila said...

Where did I read about his birth foreshadowing his death? Someone on the Blog Chain?

Anyway, this person said just as no room was to be found in the inn, no room was found in the hearts of men at his crucifixion. He chose to be born in the humblest of conditions to save us from our sins. Thanks for capturing that so vividly.

Well written post! Thanks for joining our Blog Chain!