Salisbury Post- December 17, 2017
I categorize myself as a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas
decorating, even though we always put our tree up on November 9th. I do
not consider myself a super helper in this area, either. However, I am a
My favorite part is putting the ornaments on the tree, because that requires
full family participation, as they listen to me share great memories about the
story behind each ornament.
At the bottom of the box where our ornaments have been lovingly stored in
the attic for the past year, there are always a few that are broken or
separated from their other ‘ornament’ friends. I have been known to ‘toss’
some of them gently into the trash, if no one is looking.
This year, while looking through that box, I noticed a manger scene that
looked pretty rough. Jagged edges. Falling apart a bit. It had seen better
days. Hmm? Toss it?
As I was preparing to do just that, I noticed Mary - the mother of Jesus. My
mind began to think about what her world must have been like in some of
those seconds, minutes, days, months, and years that she lived on earth.
*The angel Gabriel had brought her the news! She was highly favored and
would be the earthly mother of Jesus! As excited and honored as she must
have felt, the book of Luke also tells us that she was troubled at what the
angel said and questioned him, asking, “How can this be?”
*Nine months later, riding on a donkey for four days while ‘great’ with child?
That journey had to be extremely difficult.
*No room at the inn? Oh, the pain of that rejection.
*Bringing her baby into a dark, ugly world in a dark, ugly manger? It was
basically a cave with a feeding trough! Definitely not what she had
*12 years later, heading home from the temple and realizing her son was
missing? Unimaginable fear must have gripped her heart.
*21 years after that, her pain was certainly unbearable as she watched Jesus
suffer on the cross. She had witnessed his birth, and now was to witness his
death. He came to this world as her son, and left this world as her Savior. As
Jesus looked ahead in time and died for us, He also looked down from the
cross and died for her.
Peace for Mary surely at times seemed elusive, I am sure. Just as it does at
times for each of us. We all want it. We all need it. If we don’t have it, we
We may have received news that is troubling, where we asked, “How can this
be?” We may be facing a long, difficult journey. We may feel rejection from
others that seem to have no room for us in their lives. We may be in a dark
and ugly place, far from what we had envisioned. We may have times of
unimaginable fear or unbearable pain as we face those circumstances that
leave us hurting.
Though Mary’s life wasn’t easy, she lived her life in peace. How do we know
that? Because we know she accepted Jesus into her heart and life! And, we
also know that she had the Prince of Peace - Jesus - always with her.
I looked again at the manger scene and remembered these words I have
heard so many times:
No Jesus. No peace.
Know Jesus. Know peace.
As for this Christmas season, I am thankful for that heavenly peace that
passes all understanding and comes only by knowing and accepting the
Prince of Peace.
*Update: No, the manger scene was definitely not tossed.