hopes & fears

{found via pinterest from
impatiently praying for patience}

i've sung "oh little town of bethlehem" every year from the time i was a small child. at one point i even knew how to play it on the piano. and yet, in all those years i never once thought about the words of the song until this past sunday.

the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

the hopes and fears of all the years. all the years. every single one of them. every single one of the years, and every single one of the hopes, and every single one of the fears. they were met in the coming of Christ.

come thou long expected Jesus.

i still cannot fully wrap my mind around it. the weight of all the hopes and all the fears of every single person who ever had, and ever would walk the face of the earth came wrapped up in one tiny baby.

i've been reading through the christmas story during december - a few verses every morning, and yesterday's verses were about gabriel visiting mary and telling her that she would conceive the son of God.

and i just wonder so much about what she thought. we know what she said to gabriel, but what did she think?

i think every pregnant woman has wondered what kind of mother she will be. but no other woman has been a mother to God.

we don't know much about Jesus' childhood. there are only a couple of stories about him growing up. but i wonder if mary felt horribly inadequate. most days i feel totally inadequate as a parent for some portion of time. how did she feel about mothering the Christ child? did she ever send Jesus to his room?

how often did her humanness contrast with his perfection?
how did he manage to honor his parents when they acted out of their imperfections?

far too often i turn both christmas and christianity into clichés that don't mean much of anything. i don't think through the meaning behind the words. i don't delve deeper. i don't pay attention to the reason why we continue with certain traditions. i don't let the words really penetrate to the depths of my soul.

what does it really mean that the son of God came to earth? i mean, think about the helplessness of a newborn baby. a child who sleeps 16-18 hours a day. a child who needs milk to survive, and cannot eat any other food. a child who cannot talk or communicate except through cries. a child who cannot walk, who cannot roll over, who cannot even lift his own head.

what does it mean that the son of God came to earth as a fully dependent, fully human baby?

a fully human baby whose name shall be called Immanuel for he will save the people from their sins.

christmas is not just about the birth of Christ. it is also about the hopes and fears of all the years met in him that night.

before anything else takes over let us allow that to penetrate to the depths of our souls. this year may we wrap up our hopes and our fears in Him. may we take it all to the feet of Jesus. may we allow him to meet us where we are because that's what he does. may we recognize that he came to us as a baby, and he comes to us now - arms outstretched ready to receive us, broken and imperfect as we are.

merry christmas, friends!



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