This season as we were decorating for Christmas, my five year old son asked me, “Mom, where is the CROSS?!?!” He was genuinely concerned that among the sparkly ornaments and bright lights, we had lost the nativity cross. Last year we lost Jesus for a while so, it isn’t a totally unfounded concern. We explained to him that there was no cross at the manger because the manger was where Jesus was born, not where he died.
Later that night as I was sitting in my festive house, cup of cocoa in hand, tree lights glittering beside me, the conversation came back and I wondered…
Did Mary in her birthing of the Christ wonder if her agony would be worth the pain? Did Joseph wonder what he had gotten himself into or if he had mistaken the angel? I can’t imagine life that year was easy for either of them. They had traveled for DAYS with only a donkey to ease their steps. I can’t imagine riding on a bumpy Donkey was all that comfy for Mary, in her state. It says nowhere that Mary would have an easy pregnancy or birth. The year leading up to Jesus’ birth was likely not an easy one or a fun one. I imagine Mary had her share of sideways glances at the well. I can see her sitting there as all her “used to be” friends gossiped and pointed as they walked by. Mary hadn’t ASKED for this, but here she was. I am sure it wasn’t easy Joseph facing a life with Mary already riddled with gossip and whispers. What must it have felt like to be traveling to Bethlehem for tax purposes at 8 or 9 months pregnant anyway? How frustrating. Then add in the heaviness that must have come from KNOWING ahead of time that her precious baby was destined to save the entire world. Rarely do great changes come without great sacrifice. Mary had to have known that as she birthed her son in a stranger’s stable, filled with dirt and hay after spending hours riding on a donkey. How disheartening it must have felt.
I will be honest with you all. I have struggled this Christmas to find joy. 2015 has been HARD. I have mailed more sympathy and condolence cards than I have congratulations cards. I have said goodbye to numerous friends and relatives. I have watched people I love deeply suffer in agony with loss. I have sat helplessly by, in waiting rooms and financial aid offices as friends go through trials, praying that God would meet their needs. Folks, 2015 has been rough and I am not sad to see it go.
However, after thinking about it, this is what my heart is crying to share with you: If Mary could “do life” with all that was against her for the simple reason that I needed a savior, then who am I to question the obstacles in 2015? Instead I choose to believe that after a time of great grief and misery will come a time of joy. It may not be in big bold letters. It may be in the silence. My silence.
Join with me friends, in seeking just what God would have us see of HIM in 2016. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we also seek the cross. May we be mindful that for Jesus, for Mary, for Joseph and the shepherds, before they knew what would happen in their futures, it was all about a cross.
Kayla Wells is a member of Bigfork MOPS and former MOPS leader. She is married to Dan and is a mom to three. You can find her at Mommy’s Soapbox.