Sunday, December 22, 2013

Motherhood Changed Christmas

Tonight as I sat and watched our Christmas program at church, I couldn't help but think about how motherhood has permanently changed Christmas for me. As I child, I thought of the things that we would do, the people we would visit, and the gifts that we would open. We would gather at my grandparents' house on Christmas eve for the reading of Luke 2, singing of carols, and opening gifts with extended family. Then we would spend Christmas Day as a family, opening gifts and, yes, cutting wood. :)

But there was something about Christmas 7 years ago that has made me view this day with different eyes, the eyes of a parent, and more specifically, the eyes of a mother. Seven years ago I was closing in on my due date with Mr. R. I'd had steady contractions for over a week and was anxiously awaiting his birth. I felt I could relate to Mary in a new way, as an expectant mother. I could just imagine her traveling to Bethlehem with Joseph, thinking of how uncomfortable it must have been to do so. I wonder if she new how close she was to delivery?

Then as each of our children came along, motherhood further changed my view of Christmas. Sitting tonight listening to our choir sing about the birth of Christ and seeing the actors portray the visit from the shepherd, I became so overwhelmed with emotion. How much did Mary understand about what her precious baby was sent to do? Did she realize the agony that He would one day feel as He hung on the cross bearing the punishment for her sin and the sin of the rest of the world - past, present, and future? Now that I have children, I cannot hope to imagine how she felt as a mother watching God's son, the son she'd carried and cared for, suffer and ultimately die. Then I think about the love that God has for me, a love that made Him willing to give His only begotten Son to save me from suffering the punishment for my sin. So, I guess, motherhood has helped me to realize how grateful I am that the God of the universe would stoop so low as to be born into the world as a human child, to live a perfect life and die a horrible death so that I might have eternal life. Thank you, Lord, for the greatest Christmas gift ever to be given, your Son.

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