We can approach Christmas feelings from numerous viewpoints…
Can you just imagine the feelings of Mary?
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1)
She most likely felt fear, excitement, confusion and many other emotions. Her response is worth pondering… “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
And later, Mary “sings” a song expressing her feelings in response…
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.”
As I reflect on how Mary’s world changed so quickly and eternally over the next 33 years, I think of the feelings she must have had before his birth, and as she heard his teaching, saw the crowds following him everywhere, witnessed his numerous healings, the miracles at the wedding in Cana, and his death upon the cross and his resurrection from the tomb.
Our lives, like Mary’s, are filled with times of amazement, great joy, unexpected news, as well as significant loss, pain, disappointment, trials, loneliness and death. Out of this mix of feelings and emotions we, as believers, can celebrate that we have a Savior, Christ the King, who put all of our feelings at rest. He gave his life on an unspeakably cruel Roman cross that you and I might know real life and purpose and meaning. Understanding this truth and experiencing life this way gives me great joy and subjects all other “feelings” to his Amazing love for me.
An old hymn expresses my feeling of gratitude in this season of Christmas:
Satisfied, by Clara T Williams (1875)
All my life I had a longing
For a drink from some clear spring,
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within.
Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings,
Through His blood I now am saved.
As to my own feelings, as I reflect on Christmas and God’s gift of his only Son for sinners like me, my feelings are deeply moved with praise, thanksgiving and the desire to follow him more closely.
What are your feelings this Christmas?
Don Wolf, elder