As I sit and prepare for the upcoming holidays, family gatherings, and the approaching birth of my own first-born son, I can’t help but be amazed at the simplicity and humbleness of Jesus’ family and his birth story. Extravagance and fanfare no doubt existed during that time period, as it does today, yet they lived by the voice of God and not what was in fashion.
In these final two months of pregnancy, baby bottles, soft blankets, furniture, the cutest trending baby clothing and play accessories line my home in preparation for our son’s arrival. Though we humbly make do without creating a decorated nursery, my husband and I still have the luxury of buying and being gifted with the finest baby accouterments. Our son will be welcomed home to a warm, safe, and outfitted home even while we await the building of our forever home.
These months bring excitement, but also exhaustion as I round out my pregnancy. To think of Mary, traveling by donkey for many miles, uncertain where she would give birth or if there would be any complications on their journey, amazes me. For many months, she traveled and trusted in God’s day to day promptings: that they had to go from Nazareth to Bethlehem (where he was born) in fulfillment of the prophecy of the birth of the Messiah, then to flee to Egypt and escape Herod’s wrath, only to then have to go to Israel where Joseph discovered they were still unsafe, and then back to Nazareth (in fulfillment of the region from which the Messiah would be raised). I think of our own forked paths and the anxiety they often elicit from me, especially during this time when a mother most wants to know she, her little one, and her husband are safe and secure.
Such was their Christmas: dirty, wearisome, frightening, and yet they were together, under God’s provision. Within that, they knew they would be protected by God’s grace and they maintained the essence of “home” by believing in God’s promises and the quiet, peace, and confidence he gave them each step of the way.
Today, even within our safe and warm homes, we tend to lose the quiet, peace, and confidence, and are instead distracted by the noise that drowns out God’s authentic voice and calling to us. This peace can only be found within ourselves through our relationship with God, rather than through our glitzy Christmas decorations, sappy Christmas movies, and extravagant meals. As we open our hearts to gift giving, Christmas nostalgia, and joy in family gatherings, let us not forget Jesus’ true birth story and the spirit of humility it elicits in us as we head into the Christmas season.