Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year. The weather is colder, the decorations are beautiful, the food is great, the time off work is a needed rest, and time with family and friends is plentiful. Unless it’s 2020 and then you have lots of ‘zoom’ family time. Plus, we get to exchange gifts with those we love, and bless them with things they need or want. It’s one big time of celebration!
We are also supposed to use all these things to focus our attention back to the first Christmas. Celebrating the arrival of the promised rescuer, the great Savior, the Son of God…Jesus!
But think about what was happening two thousand years ago as Mary and Joseph were making a rather dangerous little donkey ride to Bethlehem. Since they didn’t have Hotels.com back then Joseph didn’t book a room in advance…Husband Fail! So, they end up delivering the baby Jesus in a smelly little stable with a bunch of animals around.
Now I have watched our 3 children being born into the world, and I’ve seen enough tv and movie dramas, so I know that scene was scary and difficult for the young couple. I bet Joseph hadn’t been to med school, and Mary was scared and in pain.
Think about the emotions Mary and Joseph had. Fear, anxiety, worry, confusion, pain, feeling rejected by all the inn keepers, unmet expectations, maybe even questioning Gods plan or timing. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much about that first Christmas to celebrate.
But in to all that mess, literally a stinky stable, came Jesus. I believe once that baby arrived there was a wave of peace that came over that place. That’s what Jesus does…brings peace and hope into our mess.
Then the actual celebrating began! Remember the angel choir that appeared to the shepherds that night? Remember back to all the angelic visitations and guidance and direction that had been given to Mary and Joseph? In the end God had made it happen – His words proved true! He was faithful and He provided what was needed.
So even if things hadn’t gone exactly like Mary and Joseph might have wanted them to, they had plenty of reasons to celebrate! But the celebration came with cost. They had to walk by faith and trust God in the midst of all those difficult situations.
In this life, if we are going to reach a place of true celebration, we must be willing to pay the costs to get there. It cost Jesus everything to rescue us. It cost Mary and Joseph a great deal to be included in the Christmas story. It cost the wise men to travel and present expensive gifts. True celebration comes with a cost…the cost of walking by faith.
This is true in every relationship and marriage too. Not one marriage out there is perfect. Marriages can be healthy and strong, but are never perfect. Each spouse must choose to pay the cost of ‘faith’ to love and serve each other to make the relationship work.
The author of Hebrews writes in chapter 11 verse 1 – “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” In fact, Hebrews uses the word ‘faith’ 36 different times and 28 of those take place in chapter 11. This whole chapter is dedicated to celebrating people of faith across biblical history.
In 2 Corinthians 5:7 Paul writes, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” This is our reality in our marriage relationship. By faith, we trust God’s provision of our spouse, even during difficult times. By faith, we serve and love and bless our spouse, even if things are hard and my spouse doesn’t ‘deserve it’. By faith, we look to God’s provision of power through the Holy Spirit to fulfill our marital role.
None of this is easy. It all comes at a cost. But if we are willing to pay that cost it is a cause for celebration. Then when God works His plan, and we see breakthrough, and we experience the peace of Jesus in the midst of our hardship, we can celebrate!
This is exactly how that first Christmas went. Paying the cost brought about a celebration. So during Christmas this year, when there have been a great many costs to pay, take time to celebrate. Celebrate Jesus and remember the costs He paid. Celebrate the faithfulness of those participants in the first Christmas story and remember the costs they each paid.
Then take time to remember your spouse and the costs they have paid to make your marriage work and celebrate. Celebrate God’s faithful provision and the walk of faith you have been on with Him. Ask the Lord to increase your faith in the areas you need it and He will answer that prayer.
In the end, the costs are worth it. Merry Christmas from all of us at Christian Family Life!
Christian Family Life is a marriage discipleship ministry. We are here to offer resources and support no matter what condition your marriage is in. Our passion is to Build, Enrich, and Reconcile Marriages. Find out more at https://www.christianfamilylife.com/
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