This time of the year is packed with a complete bag of mixed feelings. We can be up one minute and down the next. In all the rush and anticipation, we find ourselves with not enough time, money or ability to process all that’s happening. Add to that, the madness occurring in our world and you have a plethora of emotions vying for your attention.
You attend concerts and are inspired by beautiful music. You enjoy a children’s Christmas pageant and giggle inside as one of the sheep meander off the stage. You bake like there’s no tomorrow only to eat most of it before you have a chance to serve it. You prepare, you shop, you dine excessively, you feel overwhelmed.
Can you imagine what was going through the minds of those in attendance at that first nativity? Shepherds, as they were doing their everyday task of minding sheep are suddenly approached by a brilliant star in the heavens and voices of angels sing God’s praises. What were they thinking? Were they hallucinating? Was this really happening? A small town innkeeper and his wife turn away a pregnant young lady, because their inn is full. Imagine their feelings. A cave filled with various livestock are witness to the birth of a human yet divine infant. They say animals don’t feel things like we do, but I bet they were pretty amazed by the chain of events unfolding before their eyes.
The entire story was filled with mixed emotions. This couple was depending totally on God to get them through the shame of an unwed pregnancy. They followed the instructions of an angel to do God’s will. They took a leap of faith when they traveled over rough terrain to fulfill their obligation of being counted in the census. The road would’ve been fraught with thieves and thugs waiting to take advantage of them. Mary was about to deliver her child at any moment. Within each of those events, they had to be experiencing fear, anxiety, doubt, anger, frustration, hopelessness and depression. Add to that the feelings associated with bearing a child and you have a situation that screams futility and despair.
Still in all the turmoil of that night – all the fear and anxiety connected to it – the heavens filled with angelic choirs. A most brilliant Nova star directing shepherds to the place where their Messiah rested – the hopes and dreams they yearned for, finally being realized. The animals were still for that moment. God looked down upon His Son and was pleased. Mary pondered all these things within her heart.
Instead of putting such great pressure on ourselves to make this the perfect Christmas, let’s try to remember all the things that little family went through. Rejoice that God placed His Son on this earth to take the weight of our sin upon His own back. Be glad that our Brother, Jesus, was born and lived among us, so that we would have full redemption. Shed a tear or two over the great love we have from God, the Father – undeserved and unconditional. It’s a time for mixed emotions.
“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” C. S. Lewis