A Christmas Dare

Taken strictly as a fictional or even a historical narrative, the nativity is a miserable little story, isn't it? 
The birth of the child called Jesus was preceded by, and brought with it, so much suffering and terror.
I mean–his mother could have been stoned to death for bearing him. His peers were slaughtered for being the same general age. The shepherds were terrified, the wise men from the east endured a journey so difficult it took them years to complete it and Simon had been standing in the temple for so long that he took one look at the child's face and said, Finally God! Now let me die, if you don't mind. 
When I was a child, I saw a cherubic little baby and the stars and the angels. 
When I was a young mother, bursting at the seams with my own unborn child during the Christmas season, Mary began to come into focus; and as I struggle through life, I begin to recognize all the other terrified, waiting, journeying, weeping characters. 
And I have to ask–if I believe that the boy child, Jesus Christ was simply a man–even a good man or a great teacher–how can I justify rejoicing in his birth over the death and the suffering of all those other children? It doesn't compute; the basis of the entire Christmas season is horrific. 
Which only leaves us to believe Mary's defense–that her child was literally the Son of God–that he suffered, died and atoned for all the sin and sorrow the world has ever known–Herod's, yours and mine.
Do you believe that unbelievable, incomprehensible claim?
I have not seen angels, and the stars are constant in my sky, but I do. If it were the blood of my own children running in the streets, or if I had to walk a thousand grueling miles in order to worship Him, I would still believe.
I know that my Redeemer lives.
I cannot explain that. I can only testify that I know that Jesus Christ was born as the Bible says he was born–of a mortal mother and an immortal Father–with the capacity to die, and the power to live again and it is that miracle that we celebrate, really. There is no Christmas without the empty tomb, no Christmas without hope as enduring as Simon's was in the temple of his God, no Christmas without serious consideration of the invitation to follow Him–in forgiveness, in compassion, in service and love:
"Come, follow me."
The path of discipleship isn't nearly as difficult as you might think. We have His help–and even when the mountain won't move, the burden won't budge, or the path is completely obscured, the promise He made to His disciples that dark night of his betrayal is still in effect: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you… Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
He will heal you. He will help you. He loves you. Just as you are. Today. 
If you don't believe me–ask Him.

I dare you.

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6 responses to “A Christmas Dare

  • P.S.

    Have you heard the Michael Mclain's story- The Forgotten Carols? It came out in 1990. It's the story of a young women struggeling to understand the meaning of life/Christmas. The story unfolds as she decorates a tree and each ornament is a song- a forgotten song – There is a song from the Innkeeper who turned Mary away- there is the mother that couldn't have children but got to hold Jesus as a baby- there is the angel in heaven that couldn't sing- there is the song from the homeless (like the Christ child was) there is the song from the shepherd that slept through his fellow shepherds seeing the child…etc… Different points of view- different struggles and all absoultely beautifully full of love and hope. It simply isn't the holidays to me if I don't hear their songs. Their stories resonate in my soul. Your post reminded me of the songs. I hope your holidays were wonderful!

  • P.S.

    My point was- that each person- wether they were there looking at the Christ Child- or if they just missed him by minutes- had to really ask themselves and God wether or not they were going to believe- The exact same questions that go in all of our hearts and have for years and years before us. We all have to ask – did all that we hear about Christ really happen? And then- what I am I going to do with this knowledge. And you are right- it wasn't easier to answer the questions if we lived at the time of Jesus. There was a lot of pain and suffering-
    It does all come down to asking Him.
    Wise men still seek Him.

  • Kimber

    I haven't heard that story–I'll have to find it!

  • Karen

    Beautiful post! Thank you, Kimber! And you are an incredible writer btw, this was stunningly written.

  • angie

    Today we Catholics head to mass for the holy day celebrating the Solemnity of Mary. We honor her for her intercession, and give thanks that through her we revieved the gift of eternal salvation. You were so right. What suffering. But what a gift. Wow. Wow. Humbling, huh?

  • Kimber

    And humbling in a way that only a mother can really comprehend I think. It wasn't until I was pregnant, at Christmas that I really was floored by her sacrifice.

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