Friday, December 18, 2009
A newborn swaddled babe lying on a bed of hay in a manger surrounded by goats and cows and sheep, a virgin mother, a carpenter, three wise men, and one incredible holy star telling the tale to faraway lands.
I keep forgetting to ponder this story for a second in the midst of all that Christmas is to a mama of three young kids. Creating the magic...building the backdrop....setting the stage so Christmas morn will be all they hoped it would be and all that I need it to be.
And being a blogger and twitterer during Christmas prep is like living in a mall. Bombarded from all angles about stuff and how to get that stuff and why to get that stuff and maybe even that stuff will be give away for free so I will tell other people about that stuff so maybe they will buy the stuff. And then we will all wake up with a bunch of stuff under our trees.
And then add in the Christmas cards to be sent, the cookies to be baked, the tree to be trimmed, the lights to be strung, the parties to attend, the teacher gifts to be bought, the presents to be wrapped....well, no wonder I'm having trouble keeping the greatest story ever told anywhere near my general brain awareness.
I have had my own walk of faith. I was raised Catholic and taught to believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God born unto a virgin given to the world to save us from our sins. And it all sounded just about fine to me as a child and as a I grew into a young adult.
Sure, I had my questions and doubts, don't we all if we are honest?, but my faith was shaken to it's core at the age of 28 when I made a trip to the promised land, Israel. As I knelt at the tomb of Jesus, supposedly, the foundation of my life slipped away and I was left tumbling in mid-air. When I hit the ground it was a rocky one. Without the security of my faith.
I guess anyone who chooses to walk a life where religious belief is an integral part is bound to have struggles. So after the initial, emotional, freak-out, I settled into the faithless leg of my faith journey.
The road to where I am now is littered with tears and fear and acceptance and doubt and revelation, and I can honestly say that a week before yet another Christmas day in my 42 years on the planet, I have clawed my way back to a deeper understanding of my faith and a greater appreciation for the seed that was planted within me by my parents when they chose to baptize me and raise me with.....faith.
As a mother, when it comes to religion, I have come to my own truth that believes either I will give my children faith or I will not. My husband was not raised with faith and no matter how hard he tries, I think he feels like he looks at me from the outside. But when it came to the question of whether or not to raise our kids in a religion, there was no doubt in his mind. He wanted them to be given the seed of a belief. And we knew we would do all that we could to water it and help it grow yet knowing all the while that this seed was their own and that they would walk their own individual path just as I have. And still do.
Our kids are young. And they look to us for everything. They search our faces and our hearts for reasons to believe .... in all kinds of things.
To believe in anything is powerful, and belief has the ability to define a lifetime with possibility.
So this Christmas season, my husband and I are working hard to give the gift of faith - in a man in a red suit with a puffy white beard who will climb down our chimney leaving magic in his wake - and the not so apparent gift of belief in a story where a baby was born unto the world to save us from ourselves.
In the midst of the whirl and the twirl that is the modern Christmas season, I am doing my best to keep my heart focused on the greatest story ever told...when the world stood still gazing at a newborn babe believing in all the possibility that His birth brought to a people starved for perspective and hope.
And the story continues...