Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pizza with Laurie: Thoughts on Christmas, Chaos, and Praise



In this installment of Pizza with Laurie, I'm inviting you to put the chaos of Christmas aside and take a seat at my table for a slice of warm, cheesy pizza and conversation :)

---

I have this really weird picture in my head of Mary sitting on the couch in her house, counting kicks of the strong baby boy variety. Paying attention to every twinge in her body. Waiting for Jesus to come.

That’s nothing like the picture of her life as she waited for her baby to come. She went from the blissful stages of engagement and planning a wedding to preparing for motherhood. She had lots to plan. Lots to explain. And every time the angels came, they said “Do not be afraid.”

But was she really? Unafraid of what it meant to carry not only a precious little life within her -- but the life of the Messiah she’d read about in the prophecies since she was a little girl? Did it hurt her to have to explain the reality of an Immaculate Conception to doubting friends and family members with shame and condemnation in their eyes? Did it stress her out to be removed from her “nest” to a strange place of limbo for the mandatory census when she should have been scrubbing the proverbial baseboards and putting the finishing touches on her nursery?

Did she have even a fleeting moment of doubt because things didn’t go how she’d always planned?

For many of us, Christmas brings out the crazy. Stomach flus, snowstorms, family drama, cancelled flights, backordered Christmas gifts, burned dinner rolls, blindside divorces, year-end budget cuts, and the frenzy of work parties and church plays create an equation that invites chaos. Things that are out of our control, that ruin our most sparkling expectations for the season -- maybe a little how Mary was naturally inclined to feel as a human being when she brought the Son of God into the world in perhaps the lowliest of places.

And sometimes all of that overshadows the real reason for Christmas cheer, the fact that “God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

I think it’s safe to say Mary had her moments of fear about the whole thing. She was a new mom, after all. But if you look at the Bible and all of its interpretations on the birth of Christ, the most she says on the subject is a passage called The Magnificat, a song of praise.

From Luke 1: “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.”

The chaos of failed expectations, unexpected events, and things beyond our control are an inevitable part of life. Whether everything goes according to plan this year or not, my strong hope and prayer is that we can be like Mary. That in the eerily quiet aftermath of the chaos, hope will push past the rogue voices of loneliness, frustration, and pain as we focus on what the Lord has done for us. And I hope that we will praise Him in the way we love this Christmas.

---


Laurie Tomlinson is a wife and mom from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who enjoys stories of grace in the beautiful mess. 

She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and received the Genesis Award in 2013 (Contemporary) and 2014 (Romance). 

Her work is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary.

You can connect with Laurie here:

Twitter - @LaurieTomlinson


4 comments:

Jaime Wright said...

Absolutely beautiful. Thank you!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Lovely

Anne Love said...

Great reminders Laurie! "out of control"--yep. Often I try hardest not to have any expectations. That way I won't be as stressed when my expectations are broken and I can relax more. But, ironically, Christmas is a time of great expectations. And where Christ is concerned, we should by all means, be expectant!

Mary Vee said...

Laurie,
What a great post.
The one thing that Mary is often said to do that caused me to respect her is she ponders. She hears from the angels and ponders. The angels come to visit and she ponders. Even as Jesus hung on the cross and the emotions flowed, she pondered. This quality shows how deep she considered the Father's love for us. I need to ponder much more.