Jesus’s birth, as we have heard many times, was not ideal. It was chock-full of unknowns, dirt, mess, and stress; not to mention blood, sweat, and tears! I imagine it came with its fair share of unmet expectations for the very expectant parents. Was he earlier than the due date? Later? The unknown must have weighed on Mary as heavily as the babe in her belly. Is. It. Time. Yet? Are we THERE yet?!?
Where would he be birthed? Where would they stay? Would there be enough warmth, water, food, money, help when the baby came? The responsibility must have plagued the soon-to-be father Joseph.
The two parents, having been told the destiny and identity of their infant son, knowing full well the very child of Yahweh that they were entrusted with- the expectations, the excitement... the weight, the stress, the vast, yawning unknown that stretched before them. All waited with great expectation for the big day. I’m sure plans were talked over then talked over again. Preparations were made, reset, and refined. The birth of the Christ-child needed to be perfect.
Is any of this sounding familiar to anyone else?
Like Mary and Joseph, we plan with great expectation our own Christmas Day. Unlike the parents-to-be, we have a date stamped on our schedules each year. We know the big day. We count down to it with Advent calendars, 12-Days of Christmas songs, and Amazon daily deals. The excitement, the waiting, the plans made for family and friends consumes our agendas. Expectations run high, Christmas needs to be perfect.
And yet, also like Jesus’s birth, most of the time the reality of our circumstances doesn’t nearly match our expectations. Christmas is all too often messy, stressful, and just a bit disappointing. Despite our best laid plans, the expectations just don’t pan out. And just as Mary must have collapsed in exhaustion after birthing her son, bleary-eyed, starving, and dirty, so also we often stumble into December 26th looking slightly worse for the wear.
Awe-struck, dazed, exhausted... totally out of her element... Mary stilled herself. Not long after delivery, scripture tells us, “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 ESV
She treasured. She pondered. Amidst the chaos and the stress, the unknown and unmet expectations... surely this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be, no way was this mess okay with God, ‘it wasn’t supposed to be like this...’
Is this sounding familiar to anyone else?
Jesus’s mom treasured and pondered. She wondered at the events. She took it all in. She meditated at what God was doing, how He was working, the glorification of the Father through His son.
Even when none of it made sense, when none of it went according to plan, Mary treasured these happenings. She pondered the strange and wonderful working of God.
This season, as the day of great expectation grows close, rest dear ones. Ponder and treasure the comings and goings of the Season. Make YOUR plan to expect great things... HIS great expectations!