Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Christmas Story...

...Adrien-fied for your pleasure. 


We're pretty much alike, right? You and I? I mean, we may have come from different families or places, with different traditions or beliefs. But as human beings we're all living in the same world. We all have good days and bad days. We all try our hardest to be as cool as possible on the outside, and know that we're secretly the biggest dorks of all on the inside. 

And for those of us who are mothers, I'm pretty sure we all stare at our babies and marvel at life. Whoa, there is an actual itty bitty beating heart in there; and a tiny brain...and it all works! We all want what is the absolute best for our children. We want everyone to love them as much as we love them. We want the whole world to be kind to them and to realize no matter how old they are, that they were once our warm, tiny, helpless babies. 

Over 2,000 years ago, there was a girl, probably much younger than many of us who are reading this now, who felt the exact same things that we feel. And I can't even wrap my mind around her story. In a time when having a baby outside of marriage was punishable by death, Mary found herself in an impossible situation. Can you imagine this? 

*****

Mary is about high school age,  and she is engaged to a great guy (with a job!) who has pledged his allegiance to take care of her for the rest of her life. If she were one of our blogging buddies, I'm sure we would all be busy giving her advice and reading her entries about wedding plans and how super cute Joseph is, and how it's going to be so hard being married to a carpenter (and here are the top ten reasons why!) You know. She's just one of the girls. Not famous, or seeking extra attention -just preparing herself to be a blushing bride. 

But one day out of the blue, Mary is visited by an angel, and she is totally scared. She's scared like we would all be if an angel appeared to one of us...I imagine she let out a totally girly scream. Yep. I'm sure she did. But Gabriel (the angel) assures her, and tells her to watch out, because soon she's going to be pregnant. 

Um, what? That's impossible. I can't be pregnant, because I'm a virgin. "Nothing is impossible with God," Gabriel says. On top of everything, Gabriel tells her that she will carry her baby to term, and when he is born, his name should be Jesus. And sweet Mary, in her faithfulness, believes everything that the angel has said. 

But how would she break the news to her fiance? Would he believe her? Unfortunately, Joseph is having a rough time with this whole situation.  I mean, do you blame the guy? His fiance has just told him that she's pregnant. All of the plans that he had set in his mind are slowly slipping away. He's never heard of "immaculate conception" so obviously in his mind, his well-intentioned but imperfect bride-to-be has cheated on him. Instead of making a big spectacle out of the whole ordeal, good 'ole Joe decides he will separate from her quietly. 

Then Joseph has a dream. And this dream must've been a whopper, because it totally changes his mind about the whole situation. In the dream, an angel appears to him and confirms every single thing that Mary has told him. The wedding is on! Only, things aren't so rosy now as they might've been. Mary still has a baby in her belly that everyone knows does not belong to Joseph. 

Can you imagine the gossip? Ugh. Poor, Mary. Poor Joseph. It may have been a couple of millennia ago, but people are still the same.

So Mary and Joseph are officially husband and wife now. I'm sure they lost a lot of friends in the whole process. Certain family members have probably broken ties with them. But life goes on. And it's census time. Only, the postal service didn't exactly exist back in the day, so they had to travel miles and miles to their hometown to be counted. (And we complain about filling out a form.)


Mary is super pregnant by now. I mean, burgeoning belly, swollen ankles, back cramping, the whole bit. She is ready to be done. And now she has to hop on a donkey and ride the darn thing to Bethlehem - that little podunk town that she would probably never visit otherwise. And by the time they get there, every single Days Inn is flashing their neon "No Vacancy" sign. And Mary is starting to feel funny.

Joseph, first time daddy, is freaking out, I'm sure. His wife is about to have their baby, and he's turned away at every door he knocks on. Apparently Bethlehem is not prepared for such an influx of visitors.  Joseph is getting desperate, and Mary is in labor. No epidural, girls. No epidural.

Finally, someone says that they have a room out back, and without hesitation they take it. So amongst the grazing cattle Mary and Joseph prepare to give birth to their baby boy. The boy that Mary was told would be the Son of God. My goodness, what must've been going through her mind? Probably, "Get him out! Get him out!" But after that...*sigh.* A precious, newborn baby. With that precious newborn smell. And he's so cute and wonderful, because he is hers. And she strokes his newborn hair and kisses his face. 

I do so wish they had digital cameras back then. :) 



Mary is probably feeding her baby, while Joseph is making their temporary living quarters more comfortable. You know how it is. Everyone breathes a little once baby arrives safe and sound. I'm sure they were looking at each other all googly eyed and cooing at their bundle of joy. When suddenly, a bunch of smelly dudes with staffs show up. And they look like they meant to be here. Apparently a whole sky-full of angels had appeared to these shepherds and told them where to find this new little family. They came to see the Savior.

These would not be the only visitors Jesus would get. Though it was probably some time later, Wise Men would eventually come to worship this child as well and bring him those famous gifts. I can't help but imagine that Mary was just going on with life as usual, meanwhile God reminds her through others that she is raising His son. What an incredibly daunting task. I would SO read her blog. 

*****

And while the story continues, we'll leave it there for now. Because it's important for me to explain to the best of my ability just why Jesus was born in the first place. What was the point? Why would God leave the splendors and luxuries of heaven to become a man... born as a baby...a baby born in a barn...a baby born to first time parents who didn't have a clue what they were doing. (Luckily, Jesus was a perfect child, so he never told them so.)

He came to earth to live a perfect life; something that you and I have already failed at - failed spectacularly at. Although it is incredibly upsetting to think about, he was born to die. Plain and simple. This precious, perfect baby, would grow into a perfect man; This man, who was also God, would eventually be nailed onto a cross and die on our behalf. Yours and mine. Three days later he would raise from the dead, proving that he was who He said he was. 


I share a lot with you all about debt that Eric and I owe, and how we're desperately trying to pay it off. But Jesus paid a debt for us all that was impossible for any of us to pay. We have all screwed up, and therefore, we can't "make it" into heaven on our own. God is perfect, heaven is a perfect place, and we're definitely not perfect. Make sense? So Jesus sacrificed his own perfect life so that we could spend an eternity with Him. And that, my friends, is what makes Christmas so very special. We celebrate the birth of Christ, because of what His sacrifice means for us. And one day, because of that sacrifice, you better believe I will sitting down for a little chat with Mary and finding out this whole story first hand. :)

But only those that receive the gift of his sacrifice will benefit from it, and that's the cold hard truth of the matter. You must accept Christ as your own Savior to reserve a mansion in heaven of your very own. (I have a palatial estate on the coast of the Crystal Sea. I'm totally joking. But it could be true. We'll see.) I accepted this special gift when I was eight years old. God knocked on the door of my heart, made me feel rotten for the things I had done, explained to me that HE was my only hope, and by His grace, I let him in. The bible says that because I asked Jesus to be my Savior, that I will spend eternity with him, guaranteed. 

I really encourage any of you reading this today who aren't totally sure about where you stand with God and the whole "salvation" thing, to do what I did at eight years old, and ask Jesus to come into your heart and be your Savior. You don't have to be a bible scholar, or an already full-time church goer. Jesus hung out with crooks and prostitutes, so you're definitely fine. :) Don't let another Christmas go by without really experiencing the joy of WHY we celebrate this season. If I've left you with more questions than answers, then don't hesitate to get a hold of me to pick my brain. I may not have all of the answers, but I'm an expert in "What God has Done in the Life of Adrien Robert 101." I'm living proof that God is working, alive and well. And I know there are others who read this blog who can say the same. 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Adrien,
You told the True Christmas Story eloquently.

Thanks,
Greg & Joan

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