At the time I am writing this post, we are just approaching fall and “Pumpkin spice everything” is making it’s debut.
At the time when you’re reading this, no doubt holiday excitement will be in full swing as “Peppermint everything” will be out and readily available.
Despite what may be appropriate or the right time, some stores already have Christmas stuff out to incite customers to get excited and have time to prepare for the Holiday season.
You can pass through the months of October, November and December, jump from pumpkins to turkeys to trees in a matter of moments while browsing through a few isles in the store.
Recently while experiencing this whirlwind of Holiday decor, I pondered what do we do when our holidays look different from years past?
Whether it be a death of a loved one, separation from family or other factors, the fact remains that for many of us our Christmas looks different this year.
In my case, my parents are no longer together, my relationship with my father is strained, my brother has moved away, and my husband and I expecting our baby girl mid-December.
I can’t help but to look to Mary for how she handled unexpected news and unexpected circumstances.
How did Mary handle things when they didn’t go the way she thought they would, or the way she planned? What did she do when she was told that her life would change forever by giving birth to the messiah?
After being visited by the angel Gabriel, Mary is shocked to hear that she will give birth to Jesus.
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Luke 18:34
To which Gabriel replies:
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 18:35
At this point he could have stopped and said and that is that, but he doesn’t do that, instead he points out that her cousin, in her old age will give birth to her own son.
Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. Luke 18:36
I love that he points this out to her for two reasons. 1. this shows God indeed can do miracles. When things don’t make sense to us He can make a way. and 2. He tells her this to remind her that she is not alone in her situation.
What does Mary do once she learns that she isn’t the only experiencing a miracle? She visits the person who can relate to her and offer her the most support, her cousin, Elizabeth.
But Mary doesn’t stay so Elizabeth can help her, Mary stays to help her…. FOR THREE MONTHS.
The best way to get through the holidays that look different from trial or tragedy is to reach out to others.
Support them. Encourage them. Meet their needs. And In doing so you fulfill the law of Christ.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
For me this year it means less focus on my broken family and more focus on supporting and encouraging others.
What are you going to do this holiday season?
*Prayer challenge: sometimes we don’t know of a person to reach out to during their time of need. In these cases we can pray and ask God to place someone in our path (or reveal a person to us) that we can minister to. I’ve also even prayed before that God touch the persons that are walking the same journey as I, and that may our prayers unite as one as we declare peace, comfort and victory in our circumstances!