After the twins were born my body felt battered.  It was difficult for my body to house those babes for 8.5 months then birth them.  After their birth we received many joyous congratulations!  Twins!  How wonderful and special and lovely and “aww I always wanted twins how lucky you are”…  I smiled politely at these dotings and Ryan cringed at them, thanking those who spoke honestly to the incredible difficulty it must be to parent twins.  I wonder how Mary felt after Jesus was born?  The wonder of it all painted with realities that weren’t so warm and fuzzy….forced to flee her homeland to protect her new son who people wanted to kill.  Difficulty.  This Christmas story overlaid with difficulty.  My own journey overlaid with difficulty.  Do you relate to a difficult, challenging personal journey these days that are to be bountifully joyous?  As I put myself in Mary’s shoes and look down at my own feet I am reminded to turn my gaze upwards.  Before my twins were born I chose the verse “this is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (1)  Like Mary chose to treasure the moments surrounding Jesus’ birth and think about them often, so too I shall choose to treasure these moments in my heart and think about God’s hand in them, often.  I choose to declare this is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice in it daily, no matter the state of the day, no matter if I feel battered, no matter if the difficulty of life is particularly heavy.  I choose to trust in God who says nothing is impossible with Him.  I choose to rest IN God’s consuming Love that I may claim the angel’s proclaimation, Do not be afraid, for my own.  And what I am experiencing in the process is heaven finding its way into my life here on Earth.  And it is beautiful, marvelous, and exactly what I need to journey this battered body through the difficulties along the way being able to treasure up the multitude of spectacular gifts, daily rejoicing, letting fear evaporate because God is with me.  Always.
This is why I celebrate Jesus this Christmas. 
(1)  Psalm 118:24
(2)  Stongly influenced by the fantastic preaching of Scott Gaglardi, see Here Comes Heaven sermon series