Saturday, 24 December 2005

Merry Christmas

I believe it was four years ago this Christmas Eve that I heard one of the most moving sermons of my life.

A 14 year old girl delivered the Christmas message that year at my church. As she crossed the stage to its center, I’ll be honest, I inwardly rolled my eyes that the pastors had chosen a teenager to give the sermon. “Why did they think cutesy was the way to go on Christmas Eve, of all days, for God’s sake?” I was annoyed and already in the process of letting my mind wander elsewhere.

The girl was pretty, sweet-looking and at least she is dressed appropriately, I bitchily thought. She was probably 5’3” and looked tiny on stage. She began by relaying the Christmas story, the well-worn tale of Jesus’ birth to Mary, the virgin mother. However, this 14 year old girl shared a new perspective on the story, one that resonates with me even today, and brought me to tears that night.

Mary was a young unmarried woman. She was not rich or of high social standing. She had Joseph, a simple but honorable man who loved her. They were planning a simple but honorable life together. Then the Holy Spirit seeks out Mary, tells her she’s been chosen to carry the Son of God. The Virgin Mary is of course stunned to find that she is indeed pregnant.

Surely, at the time this occurred to Mary, none of this was good news. During Mary’s lifetime, an unwed, pregnant woman was viewed with great disfavor, shunned by her family and community for the shame her status brought upon them. In addition to losing her family’s love, respect and affection, she stood to lose Joseph, her beloved. An honorable man deserved a woman of honor; Mary’s pregnancy brought her shame in the eyes of others.

The world’s greatest blessing certainly didn’t appear to be that when it was initially given to Mary.

I think the message that often the greatest blessings are disguised in traumatic, painful and sometimes shameful occurrences is a wise one to remember. God wants happiness for His children. He will not put anything in our paths that we are not able to grow and achieve something substantial and positive from. He does not wish us ill, for He loves us.

There is much in our lives that we are not seeing for the blessings that they will likely one day reveal themselves to be. So this Christmas, as you count your blessings, I encourage you to look at your trials and tribulations as well and I hope that you feel some peace in your heart, knowing they are likely blessings as well and that one day you will see why.

I wish all of you the Merriest of Christmases, full of love and peace. May the New Year bring you more blessings than the one prior, and more time with those you love.

No comments:

Post a Comment