l love Christmas -all of it. I cherish our family time, School's Winter Break, and the shorter workdays. The lights, how brightly they decorate a little town like ours. The tree and the ornaments that point to the Star. The gatherings that remind us of how loved we are. The gifts and offerings we give and receive. Last but never least, I love the Christmas Story and how meaningful it is to me.
This December, I visited my family in Argentina. They're all doing so well! It's always such a treat to see everyone! I also love staying with my Mom! During Christmas, we're visiting our son in California -it's Christmas to go! We're packing light -just a carryon each! This time, I haven't been able to do as much, so the gifts will be simple but enough. Being reunited as a family again will probably be the greatest gift!
I was thinking this week, how the first Christmas was also quite simple -so it's ok if ours is too. I reread the Christmas Story again. I guess Mary and Joseph also had Christmas to go. I believe Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was so humble, so unpretentious, and long-suffering. Being nine months pregnant, she had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, roughly 90 miles -on a donkey! -Look, I have only been pregnant twice. Still, I can confidently tell you that if my husband would've expected me, 9-month pregnant to go on a donkey-anywhere, it wouldn't have gone well.
I am still amazed at Mary's humility! When they arrive in Bethlehem, there's no room for them, so she gives birth in a stable. When Jesus is born, Mary doesn't have any of our modern comforts, yet not once does she lose her joy! Unexplainably, to Mary, the details were not as important as they are to us. What mattered most to her was Who her baby boy was! The miracle Mary and Joseph witnessed overshadowed everything else.
What a difference it makes when we focus on what's important!
Even if they didn't pack gifts, Mary carried the Heavenly Gift: The Savior.
Even if there were no family members, they became the Holy Family.
Even if there was no party, Heaven rejoiced over the birth of Jesus!
Even if there was no tree. Jesus later died on the tree so we could live.
Even if there were no lights, Jesus became the Light of the World.
Even without special guests, the Angels, the Shepherds, and the Wise Men came to bring gifts and praises to the newborn King.
During these days, people always ask you at the store: "So are you ready for Christmas?" I always say yes. To me, Christmas is about making space in our hearts and receiving the gift God already sent us: His Son Jesus. It's not so much about what we do, what we buy, or what we give. It's about what's already been done for us. God knew we'd need a Savior, so He sent us His Own Son.
So whether your celebration is local or to go, I hope you have a Merry Christmas! Enjoy your loved ones because they're still here, the simplicity of the Season, and the God who is with us -Immanuel!
All the best for you and your family,
Maria A. Mansfield, PRS
Author: "Life is Worth Getting Better" & "Honoring Your Recovery"