Friday, December 22, 2006

Missed blessings.

I think I have written a time or two about missing out on blessings in life because we have our own set of plans or ideas or feelings. Like when Chip proposed to me and I made him swear over and over that he agreed to 'never having any kids'. I was adamant about that at the time; I had other 'plans' in life and they were going to fulfill my desires and dreams- and kids were NOT in the picture.
Then on the eve of our first anniversary, I found out that I was pregnant. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled...and the timing couldn't have been 'worse'. I struggled that whole pregnancy with accepting the idea of having a baby and moreso with having to change the direction that I had seen my life headed. It was tough.
Then Teagan was born. Tears rolled down my cheeks from the moment she was placed in my arms...I couldn't have been more overwhelmed with love for her, and my heart was filled with peace. I remember holding her later on that first night in the hospital and a feeling of guilt swept over me as I looked at her perfect features and her little fingers curled around my own. I kept thinking that she was more than I deserved- especially after all the months I had been depressed and sad during my pregnancy. She was beautiful and perfect, and she consumed my soul with goodness from day 1.
I have shared here how I would have missed out on 4 and a half years of Teagan in my life if I had followed the plans and dreams I had for my life. I would have missed out on a lot of joy. I would have missed out on the lives of my other kids too, because once Teagan came along she broke my 'rule'...the one about not ever having kids. Chip and I knew that once we had one child, we would have more...because our plans and dreams had changed.
I have blogged about how I would have missed out on the blessing of our 'Barbie Tree' if I had chosen to stay depressed and angry that first Christmas without Teagan. Instead, something inside Chip encouraged me to rise above my grief and to do something bigger than myself. I know now, that God was walking with us each step of the way during those bleak moments of our lives, as He continues to do each step of the way as we walk through the rest of the adventures of our lives.
This Christmas has been more of what the past several have been in my life...time of reflecting, remembering, questioning, and creating new joy and traditions and seeing goodness in spite of everything. I have thought long and hard this year and have tried to put myself in the position of the different people who we 'see' in the Christmas story this season. I have looked at this story from different angles and perspectives. I will not claim them to be Biblically based, and maybe some of these views have been thought of or written about in books, I'm not sure. These just happen to be the ones that have been in my thoughts the past few weeks, and I am jotting them down just to get them out.
I have wondered and sympathized with Mary many times. Especially the times when I was 'with child' at Christmas myself. I know that God picked the right person to bear His Son when He chose Mary...she was humble and open and willing, and she accepted God's plan for her life without question. In fact, when the angel came to her and told her she would bear God's Son, she answered simply, "May it be as you have said". That's amazing to me...Mary was a very young, unwed (engaged) woman, who had everything to lose- including her life- because of this news. Yet she accepted it willingly. Her response has made me wonder more than once, how would I have responded to news such as that? I can't say for sure, and maybe God placed some peace and reassurance within her heart as only He can do...but I have a feeling I would have been a little bit more 'animated' to the angel at that time. Me: "What? You're who? God told you what? No. I think you have the wrong Mary. Couldn't be me! I'm engaged and not planning on having kids for a long time...no. I think you must have misunderstood what God told you. Go back to Heaven and ask Him again and then come back and tell me what He really wants me to hear. Okay, angel?!"
If it was me and I had been Mary, I would have missed out on the blessing of bearing God's Son. It's true... God could have said, "Fine. I'll choose someone else. You don't have to be a part of my glorious plan if that's how you want it to be."
How many times do we question God and His plans for our lives? How many times do we mess things up or make Him put up with our attitudes because things aren't going the way we think they should in our life.
Think about this scene...Mary and Joseph have traveled miles upon miles to get to the village of Bethlehem. Mary is 'great with child'...can't be very comfortable or happy with having to travel by donkey and foot at this late stage of her pregnancy. When she and Joseph finally arrive at the Inn, the innkeeper tells them "We're full- sorry". No room for them? Me (I'm still Mary at this point): "What do you mean 'no room'...you mean the best rooms are all taken, right? We can stay in a twin room. That's fine. I'll take the bed and Joseph will just sleep wherever. We don't need a full bed."
Innkeeper, "You didn't hear me, Miss. There's NO ROOM. None. You'll have to go elsewhere."
Me: "No...you don't understand. An angel told me that I'm going to have the Christchild- yep. I'm prgenant with God's Son. I'm sure you have a room for God's Son, right? Just kick someone else out...I'm sure they wouldn't mind...especially when you tell them who I am."
So, did the Innkeeper miss out on the blessing and turn away 'God's Son'? Or didn't he have a clue who Mary was because she just kept quiet (once again) and accepted God's plan for her life- even if it included giving birth in a barn?
What about the shepherds? They were out on the hill when the angels appeared singing glory to God in the highest...what if they decided that they didn't want to trek all the way to Bethlehem with a herd of sheep. They could have thought the angels were crazy. Or just a weird vision. They didn't have to follow the star that night so long ago. But for some reason, they went.
And those wise men that we read and hear about? I'll bet there was a bit of bickering going on at the castle before they went to Bethlehem. Think about it...the king calls a bunch of his wise men to his chambers and tells them, "I want to send you to Bethlehem with some gifts to bring to the Savior, who was born in a stable. He is the Christchild."
Me (as a wiseman, now): "Um, King? I have lots of things going on here at the castle. I think I'll just stay here. I'd rather not get my clothes dirty on the trip and I'm not really into visiting stables. I'm not good with babies, either. So, you can skip me. Someone else can go in my place."
Do you see what I'm saying? These characters that we see at Christmas were real people, like you and me. They had choices (in some cases) to go see baby Jesus or to accept God's message, and be blessed beyond measure for their faithfulness. In accepting God's plan, and believing in His word, they were a part of something so special and wonderful that a couple of thousand years later, people are still singing and celebrating about this event. Amazing.
One final thought...it makes me realize that God's plan is something bigger than you or I will ever understand. It makes me realize that God uses ordinary people (like you and me and Mary and Joseph and shepherds on a hill) to fulfill His glorious purpose. He gives us the opportunity to accept His message and His gift (His son Jesus) and in so doing, we are blessed beyond measure- more than we ever deserve.
All He asks is that we have an open heart for Him to guide and work through. Sounds so simple. Sounds so easy, and yet we make it so difficult at times. I wonder how many blessing we miss out on everyday, because we have our own plans and dreams. Or because we don't like the way the blessing is 'packaged'. I've celebrated many Christmases through the years...and yet the story never ceases to amaze me.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks again! Has anyone checked on Jaymun today (www.jaymun.com)? If not, have the tissues ready! We serve an AWESOME God! Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! I've walked this earth as a follower of Christ for quite some time now and I think it's been just in the last year that I've "just" begun to "get" that God wants ALL of us. That "if" we rely on Him with EVERY THING....what He will give us is far greater than what our plans and ideas would be. You have written it so much more eloquently than I could have done, however.
God in us...we're His plan for the world! I don't know if I could have had the faith of Young Mary...especially in her time and in her culture! THAT was huge, to trust God and become pregnant without a husband. In seeing The Nativity..it put "skin" on the story and only, maybe, just a glimpse of what it would have been like to go through her experience.
Merry Christmas to you Jody and your family! Blessings as well for the coming New Year!!

Anonymous said...

Me too... and you made it all the more amazing in your post. Thanks for your sharing, your insight... for proclaiming truth.

Laura Solomon said...

Wow.
I am Jewish and blown away/smiling with joy at your great story telling of the birth of Jesus.
Wow.
You really sum it all up.
I will remember your redition and the important story of letting God lead with HIS plan.
Thank you and blessings to your family.
xox Laura

Anonymous said...

'remember the One who loves you, and be different because of it.'

Anonymous said...

I too have been reflecting on the story of Jesus birth this Christmas. Yes, a lot of it is because we have just adopted a new baby, but also because it is what this season is about. As I think of Mary and how she must have felt preparing to bring forth the Savior of the world I feel an overwhelming sense of love from our Heavenly Father. He loves each of us so much and knows each of us, and gave us this amazing gift. It makes me want to share that love with others (especially at Christmas) who may have nothing. We need to share that beautiful message with those around us, and you have done a wonderful job of that. Have a great Christmas with your family. Thanks for the nice comments.