Sunday, December 4, 2016

Christmas Bedtime Stories

On my other blog, I had a Christmas tradition called Christmas Bedtime Stories.  Every Sunday in December, I posted a personal story or essay of Christmas blessings and wonder.  It has been one of my favorite writing traditions and I wanted to bring that tradition to this blog.


Mary, did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?  This child that you delivered, would soon deliver you?
Art by Liz Lemmon Swindle

In the past few weeks, I have been privileged to set up countless nativities in the homes of clients and friends.  Perhaps in the careful placing of these displays I have let my mind wander back to that moment so long ago, to the mother of Christ, Mary.

 At times, I feel overwhelmed and anxious for her as I think of the load she was called upon to carry. I wonder if she ever questioned how she could be the kind of mother Jesus needed her to be? At other times, I feel a reverence and peace that she knew and loved her Father so much, she felt nothing but peace. I wish I knew her, more of her deepest thoughts.  I think of that night spent searching for a place to rest, as the moments of a humble birth stood at the door of her soul.  I think of what that Manger must have been like.  Over and over I think of the words from Matthew, " Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."

Lately, I've been thinking that Jesus did have a place to lay his head. I like to think that Jesus spent very little time in a cradle filled with hay, but rather in the warmth and safety of his mother's arms.  I like to think that Mary never put him down.

I can't help but wonder where in this month or any other month, do I set the Saviour of the world?  Does he lay aside in a wooden cradle, on display for all to see, like some trophy that sets us up as a faithful follower yet, our actions trail far behind when no one is looking? Or, do I hold him close, a treasured gift, allowing him to make me new, to deliver me from my own self; and before I realize, it is I who is cradled in His safe arms?

December is a month when the rough edges of the world around us are tempered and polished with the birth of a baby so long ago.  It's a time when, for at least a few weeks, the lonely are visited, the poor made rich through an abundance of kindness, needs are met, hearts are softened, broken souls are mended and the light of Christ escapes through our cracks of imperfection and fills us all and for a small moment, no one is lost and everyone has a place to rest; in us.  In Him.

Thomas S. Monson said this of the love of Christ during the month of December, "You can hear it. You can see it, You can feel it."

December has always been a time of reflection for me.  It is just as President Monson suggests; I have heard Christ this year, I have seen his works and love and I can feel him close.  May we ever strive to hold our Saviour close and not only watch over him but follow him, become like him, be constant like him.


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