Is It Any Wonder?

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Why decorate ornaments when I can decorate me?

Do you ever have visions of how you think a certain aspect of your life will turn out and then get to that point and think….what happened?

It can be a two-sided coin really…or…are there any three-sided coins;)? Sometimes I look around and think, “I could not have planned it better, this is “perfect”.”

Then there are other times that I think, “Oh dear, this definitely isn’t what I wanted, can and should I change it?”

And every once in a while I have times when I think, “This really is best, but it’s not what I planned or even could have imagined.”

The last thought is what I’ve had with Christmas over the last few years. My husband and I decided a few years back that the going here and there, and doing this and that, which had been our custom at Christmas, was really taking away from the peace we felt we should be feeling at this time of the year. We vowed to focus more on our own nuclear family and keeping things low-key and Christ-centered.

We noticed an immediate change in the spiritual environment in our family. Things were indeed happier and more peaceful. Actually it felt just how we thought it should….but….why did I always have a bit of a melancholy feeling during some days of the Christmas season?

I finally decided that it was a my psyche “mourning” the visions I had created and the traditions I had left aside in order to find the best way for us.

So strange huh? Even though you know something is “best” or “right” for your family and yourself, sometimes you still yearn for “what might have been”, even though you know the fantasy you created in your imagination is next to impossible? And probably not even healthy.

Well, this year I found that my melancholy temptation, that I usually can just push aside, was being more persistent. I blamed it on pregnancy, lack of sleep, a travelling hubby, some stress over finances and changes that need to be made in our homeschooling, trying logically to explain it away and move on so I could enjoy the season and more than that make it a happy season for my family.

I would wake up and get myself motivated for a few hours but it seemed that I was running out of the ability to fake it. The last few days it was taking nearly every ounce of energy I had to get out of bed and keep the act going.

Finally this morning I really didn’t think I could do it. During my morning prayers I pleaded with the Lord, “Please, please, please, I have to do this. I know my life is not bad and I know there are people out there that are much, much worse off to worry about, but I have to have your help. I need to make this day special for my kids. If I can’t be happy I need you to help me fake it so they can be happy. This day is not about me, please, please help me.”

The Lord never lets me down. It was a bit of a bumpy take-off to the day but I finally just said, “I can’t, you have to support me through this.” And a little miracle happened. I let go. He took over. And it was a good day. I became happy. At first it was an act, and then it was real.

After I put the kids to bed I was pondering on what happened….what was the turning point? What happened?

I finally concluded that the Lord opened my eyes so that I could really see, more than anything see my kids. Children are so wonderfully happy with simplicity and reciprocate such an overflow of love with the smallest acts of love shown to them.

On our way home from watching a movie and delivering some Christmas treats my 9 yr old son said, “ Mom, doesn’t it seem like it feels happier on Christmas?” When I asked him why he felt that way he said simply, “It’s probably because it’s Jesus’ birthday.” It was then that is hit me. Is it any wonder?

Is it any wonder that Christ was sent as a baby to the earth? Is it any wonder that we call babies “bundles of joy”? Is it any wonder that no one can resist the laughter of a small child? Is it any wonder that though the textual references in the bible are few in regards to Jesus’ childhood we do know,

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. [Luke 2:40]

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” [Luke 2:51–52]

Today is was confirmed to me once again that our children are not only our responsibility, but also our teachers. They are wise beyond their years, they understand what is truly important and know truth when they hear and see it. Is it then, any wonder that the greatest gift to mankind came in the form of a child?

John 3: 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

For this wonderful gift I will be eternally grateful. Even more amazing that we can not only be eternally saved but like I was reminded of today, we can be saved…day by day.

Merry Christmas!

Pondering Mary

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In the spirit of celebrating motherhood, I find my thoughts once again turning to Mary. Can we ever really know, really understand the kind of woman that Mary was, and is? For Christ to be the man we know Him to be, his mother must be remarkable, angelic, divine, virtuous, the epitome of womanhood.

I’ve been pondering on Mary more and more as I continue to become more and more involved in my role as a mother. My thoughts deepened around Christmas time of last year when I viewed this video: http://youtu.be/ugV6QGcafEE . Not only does the music stir your soul but the images portrayed of Mary reminded me of the very few scriptures shared about this heavenly woman.

For Jesus to be the man he was he had to have had a mother like Mary. He knew not only the scriptures but how to apply them to live a higher moral code. Could he really have learned such application by merely reading and memorizing? Would He not have to have been mentored and guided from childhood to have such a deep understanding? We know that Mary was a devote woman (Luke 1:38, Luke 1:46-55) and her Son is another testament to her piety.

Mary also did not question the angel when he mentioned the Messiah, she knew and believed in the prophesied mission of the Savior. We see this as she did not question the what and why, but merely the how (Luke 1:34 ). Her complete willingness to follow the Lord “ … be it unto me according to thy word.”( Luke 1:38); submitting her will to the Father, in complete faith. So we need not be entirely surprised as her Son also let His will be swallowed up in the Father’s as He partook of the bitter cup.

Can you imagine giving birth in a stable and then within hours having strangers come to visit you and your newborn child? Mary let the shepherds come to see the Savior on the same night she had just given birth, people she had never met before, what compassion and graciousness. So is it a surprise that her Son fed 5,000, healed the ear of the very guard that would lead Him to his trial, wept with those that wept, let the children come unto Him, and blessed and helped people day after day even when he was tired and hungry and spiritually exhausted?

Mary was there to see her own child crucified, what kind of devotion would that take? Even though she knew, what intense pain she must have felt. So, is it really a surprise that Jesus went to Mary and Martha and even shared in their mourning for their brother Lazarus, even when He knew He would raise Him from the dead?

All that being said, it is hard to believe that Mary was even mortal. But we know that indeed she was mortal, and thus a finite and carnal being. She must have felt the inadequacy and discouragement that we as mothers feel at times. Despite any weakness she may have had, she raised the only Begotton Son of God, the Savior of all mankind. He grew up and fulfilled all that he was meant to do. So what was her secret? Well,…. is it secret? We are told that she asked, trusted, submitted, obeyed, glorified and pondered (Luke 1:34 Luke 1:38, Luke 1:46-55Luke 2:19 ). I think it is quite clear that Mary was not a blind follower but an active agent in the work of God. A beautiful example of virtuous strength and faith, the perfect mother for the Son of God.

And isn’t it wonderful to think that we too are raising the Children of God? What a marvelous responsibility and gift! Every day I marvel at the trust God has shown He has in me by sending me such remarkable children. Ought I not to have the same trust in Him? Besides, he knows me and my children better than anyone else and He also knows what we CAN be. He knows that the combination of us, as mothers, and our children, as our children, CAN become a divine combination. We must simply look to Him.

Happy Mother’s Day!