Tag Archives: Luke 2:19

Remembering the Blessed Event

Last week, I was intrigued by the following tweet:

My wife and I regularly, when their birthdays come around, share with our children the events of the day they came into the world.  The details of each birth had certain peculiarities – the smell of chocolate chip cookies, the speed (or the slowness) of the labor, the lateness of the hour, the travelling to the hospital as snow was falling at rush hour.  I remember quite a bit about those four days, but a mother’s recollection is even greater.  I can only imagine that Mary’s memory was no different and she must have recounted the birth of her first-born child on occasion.

“Dad and I had to go to Bethlehem just before you were born.  We were there with a bunch of distant relatives, mom and dad’s cousins and their children, sort of like a big family reunion.  There were so many people there!  When we got there, there were no rooms left in the inn for us, but your dad found us a small cave where some animals were kept, and we sat in there so that I could rest for a bit.  When the time came, you arrived, right in front of some goats and a cow.  You were so small, so beautiful.  We counted your little toes and your little fingers, and we were so happy that you had ten of each.

“You and I fell asleep for a bit, you in a feeding trough on some hay and me lying next to you.  Your dad handed me a scarf, the one I had been wearing on my head, and we wrapped you up in it to keep you warm.  One thing that was special about that night was that a little after you were born we had some visitors – shepherds from the fields nearby.  Daddy woke me up and the first thing I saw was the nose of one of their sheep.  They told your dad and I a wonderful thing about you: they said that angels came to them, in a blinding light, and told them that you had been born and that they could find you in that manger.  They were so happy to see you.  I think they told everyone in the entire town that you were born.

“Speaking of visitors, a little while later, while you were still itty-bitty, we were at a friend’s house when men from the east came to see you.  They brought you special gifts – frankincense, myrrh and GOLD!  You kept looking at the sparkles on the wall that the gold was making.  They also knew you were a special baby, my little king.  They told us that saw a star in the sky and spent months following it…right to you!  Just like your dad and I, they knew you were God’s greatest blessing.”

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Luke 2:19

Mind you, this narrative is mostly speculation.  The place (a manger in Bethlehem) and the people (shepherds and stargazers) were recorded in Scriptures.  It might have happened this way.  We cannot imagine all the things that Mary pondered, but I can imagine she shared some of it with Jesus – even though He probably knew more of the story than she did.  As you catch view of the nativity scenes that populate mantels and town greens, let your imagination soar as you, too, ponder the birth of Christ the Lord.

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A Single Request for Christmas

My wife, Jeanine, has been spending the last 10 days with family in Baltimore.  In her absence, I have come to realize all the details of life that need to be tended to in order for the house to run smoothly: the alarm clock needs to be heeded, lest the children are late for school; the calendar needs to be checked daily, lest we miss out on an important event; laundry, cleaning and showers need to be regularly performed, lest we begin to reek.  I am blessed that a number of women from the church provided ample meals for us to enjoy and that the boys – ages 22, 16 and 9 – were able to care for one another when necessary.  That being said, I am so glad that Jeanine is coming home tomorrow.xmas

These last ten days have given me a new appreciation for single parents, especially at Christmas.  I have the privilege of knowing that soon my better half will return and help with the meals, the mornings and the mess – many don’t have such reinforcements coming.  There are single moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas and aunts or uncles that must balance work and home, shopping for Christmas trees and paying electric bills, checking homework and Christmas lists.  They must do it all, with little or no help.  My heart goes out to those who “go it alone”.

Many of us are blessed with what our culture calls a ‘support system”.  Some find support through family and others find it through friends; some support comes through the church and some comes through agencies.  Our support systems are what carries us when we cannot seem to manage alone.  These are the people who come into our lives who, sometimes publicly and some anonymously, and encourage or console, equip or supply us in our time of need.  I praise God for all those who support those I love and I pray God gives strength to those who have inadequate support.

It seems to me that Mary and Joseph could have used a support system.  They were called to go through so much alone:  angels visited each of them solitarily, telling them that God would enable them to endure great challenges; they were forced by the government to travel miles from home at the time of their child’s birth and were met with indifference when arriving to Bethlehem; soon after delivering the promised child, they were commanded to leave everything and move to a foreign country; and eventually Mary is forced to “go it alone” after the passing of her husband some time after Jesus turned twelve.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.   Luke 2:19

As we celebrate Christmas, enjoying time with family and friends, remember those who have little or no support system.  Talk to the single mother you know from work and offer to watch the kids so she can finish her shopping.  Text that single dad you know from school pick-up and encourage him to keep up the good work.  Drop by the house of the single grandmother in your neighborhood and deliver a gift card for the local fast food restaurant.  Support those who have no support; give them something wonderful to ponder this Christmas.