Advent Letter 2015

This year as I ponder the advent season I am drawn to think of Mary’s story of Jesus’ birth.  With the story of my newborns’ arrival fresh in my mind, Mary’s story takes on a new quality for me.  I think of this amazing blessing that Mary was granted: to be mother of the Saviour. Yet, I can only imagine that Mary had to deal with thoughts like: “Why was I chosen for the virgin birth, everyone thinks I’m crazy!”, then when at full term I can hear what I would have thought “Seriously, the census has to be now!?”, and then arriving in Bethlehem, “Really!? There’s no room in the hotel?  Look at me, there’s a baby ready to pop out of me.  Are you surethere’s no bed?”  Perhaps Mary struggled with these thoughts. I have to think that she had to have. Yet, despite all these hardships and struggles we hear the bible announce the birth story of Jesus as the biggest celebration ever experienced.  And Mary was chosen to be center stage in it all.  In all the craziness there was joy incomparable!

This season of my life is full of its own craziness.  Strangers and acquaintances dote on my twins with oogles and ogles with comments like “how wonderful!” and “how perfect!” (even as Allison is screaming her head off) They don’t wake at midnight, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in the morning to the needs of very needy babies.  They don’t have to face the cries of a baby that you can’t attend to because you are already attending to a crying baby.  They don’t have to type their Advent letter with one hand because they’re nursing a babe in their other arm!  When we first found out we were having twins Ryan got tired of people being exuberantly congratulatory.  His response: “Congratulations or condolences, both are accepted.”  It was just yesterday at an appointment when I first felt like I could fully enjoy the excitement a stranger had over my twins.  I have tried very diligently to focus on only the positive in these days where I am stretched thin. (And it has paid off! I look back and don’t know how I made it through these weeks! And praise God for the graciousness and patience He has granted me!).  This season I choose joy.  I am sure Mary had to choose joy and embrace what the angel spoke on announcement of her pregnancy: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” We too are “favored” when we celebrate that we are children of the Lord. And there is no other season where it is more apparent that the Lord is with us.

Whatever your story this advent season, I invite you to choose Joy.  It can be hard in the darkest places; but, consider this: we join as believers to celebrate a Saviour who came to show His humanity a better way to live, and gave us an invitation to be freed from the sin that weighs us down.  If nothing else we can rejoice that we are not alone. The Lord is with us and we are a family of Christ-believers who celebrate this season collectively.

What joy fills my heart today as I focus on the gift of my family, my blessed, God-given family! Where is your joy this season?  Find it, embrace it, and celebrate it as you ponder on Mary’s joyous story of Jesus’ birth!