A couple years ago I remember a friend telling me at a Christmas party that they just weren’t feeling the Christmas mojo. That got me thinking…
What does it even mean to be in the Christmas ‘spirit’? Have we set up a false expectation in regards to what we should be feeling and experiencing just because the calendar tells us it is December?
Makes me wonder…what was Christmas like for Mary? Would she look back at her first Christmas and describe it in sentimental terms? Was she singing along with Nat King Cole, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, yuletide carols being sung by a choir and folks dressed up like Eskimos..?”
What was Mary’s first Christmas like?
- Made pregnant by…God. Meditate on how bizarre this must have been to a teen-age girl!
- Friends and family thought she had been unfaithful to Joseph. Lost the respect of those who meant the most to her.
- Traveled for days while on the verge of giving birth.
- So much for the baby shower.
- Faced the horrific thought of giving birth to the Son of God in a filthy manger.
- No epidural to make the pain go away.
- Not long after giving birth Mary is warned that crazy men are hell-bent on killing her Son.
So…what should we actually expect as Christmas rolls around each year? Happy vibes, well-behaved kids, a perfectly decorated house?
Christmas was a bold move by God the Father to undo the evil kingdom of this world and establish his kingdom of peace on earth. Christmas was an act of spiritual warfare.
If you don’t easily accept the idea of Christmas being spiritual warfare read the passage again about Herod killing all the male children in Matthew 2:16-18. Or consider what was written in Revelation 12:3-6, “And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.” Absent is any mention of Frosty, cute reindeer or Mistletoe.
When you understand the Biblical narrative of Christmas you cringe a little when you consider what Christmas has become today.
Maybe warfare is what we should expect. I have not personally noticed the Adversary easing up on me because it is the holiday season, have you? As we are putting up the tree and lights we should prepare our hearts for the fact that there is a enemy who is looking to depress and destroy us. He wants to get us to focus on what we don’t have or what we have lost. Cause us to eat too much, drink too much and spend way too much cash. To make us discontented and wonder why everyone else seems so much happier.
Satan is great at getting us to numb ourselves with excess during Christmas so that we stumble into the New Year with very little spiritual zeal and energy. You would think by now we would do a better job at recognizing his schemes.
If you are not experiencing feelings of December bliss I just want to say that you are not alone. Here is the thing, Jesus is wonderful AND life is hard. Christmas reminds us that we are living in a spiritual battle and the fight is for our heart. There is simply no way that Mary would describe Christmas in sentimental terms, but through all her trials Mary still worshipped. She was not overwhelmed by her difficult circumstances (although it would be easy to understand if she was). Instead, Mary was overcome with the fact that God sent his Son into this troubled world to bring peace, joy and the hope of a better life. Because of the incarnation Mary worshipped…and so can we.
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”