Maria A. Mansfield
Courage For Your Dream
After Thanksgiving, the holiday season is just a blink away! Where does the time go? Christmas and New Year is a lovely time for our family. I always look forward to sharing holiday gatherings with friends and meaningful family conversations. The holidays can be such a spectacular time. This year I heard my friend say she enjoys creating little holiday moments each day to savor more of what this season means. I decided to adopt this idea because it's genius! I love how that makes every day extraordinary.
I am also aware of how stressful this time can be, though. Finding the right gifts, holiday preparations, parties, and some family dynamics can sometimes take a toll on the season's joy. Yet every year, we do it all over again. Why? Because holidays are a huge deal! Celebrating our Savior's birth and the New Year inspires me to believe, hope, love, and give.
As I reread the first Christmas scripture, I pondered how this story looks like ours. Even all these years later, our human condition, mindset, fears, and challenges haven't changed. Mary, a young teenager, is engaged to Joseph, but suddenly, her life takes an unexpected turn when the angel tells her she's been chosen to bear the son of God. She's confused about how that can happen, but the angel's reassurance helps her fulfill her purpose as the Mother of our Savior. Joseph, who would've had to feel so betrayed, plans to leave Mary in silence and break off the engagement. But again, the angel comes to him to give him direction and peace about taking Mary as his wife. Inevitably they are both misunderstood and have to adjust to their new reality. They struggle to know what the next move looks like -pun intended because they officially need to move to Bethlehem because of the census. They have no place to stay. Nobody will let them in. Mary ends up having Jesus in a dirty stable, yet she never complains that Joseph didn't plan the trip or get hotel reservations -not even a doctor! How could they possibly navigate this with so much courage? The only way they could be was to hold onto the promise they had been given. They were chosen to do something unique! Maybe their destiny chose them too. Despite the apparent challenges, doubts, and fears, they fulfilled their calling.
Many of us have celebrated Christmas without considering its real meaning -me too.
We sometimes don't make room for the Savior to be born in our hearts. Yet I've learned that when we have a promise of something that's in our heart that will happen, we are confused, just like Mary, about how that can actually play out. We have others doubt us, just like Joseph did. Others might not understand what God put in our hearts. And sometimes, we need to change the environment to let that dream grow. Just like Mary and Joseph had to move, we might shift our mindset somewhere else. But the challenge is going out in faith toward what we're supposed to do to fulfill that promise. What we passionately believe in will birth something that will positively impact others. Like our life mattered enough to be remembered for what we were privileged and courageous to give birth to.
Will we make room for our dream? Or will we close the door on the opportunity and send it away? Just like Mary and Joseph had no place to stay and had to go to a very humble stable, sometimes we'll have to find a way to fulfill our destiny -even without the help of others. Starting at the very bottom where there's no recognition. I'm glad Mary chose to believe that was the will of God for her life. The question is if we'll do it too. Passion for our dream is our destiny. Will we make time for it and the arrangements to fulfill that promise, or will it die with us? Today we still celebrate God's gift to the world through the life of Mary. She's such an inspiration to me! Luke 1:45 says: "Blessed is she who has believed the Lord would fulfill his promises to her." That's one of the reasons she's called blessed.
I sincerely hope your holidays are merry and your 2023 bright!
Maria A. Mansfield
Author and Life Coach