This year, unlike any other, has people struggling to celebrate Christmas. After much suffering due to the virus, job loss, and crippling loneliness, people are not getting into the holiday cheer.
But that’s ok.
The first Christmas in Bethlehem was hard, and, without the promise of a Messiah, I’m sure Mary would not have been celebrating either.
Over two thousand years ago, Mary and Joseph made the long trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They were not traveling to see family, and ring in the new year; they were being moved by the Romans.
Caesar Augustes decided to conduct a census of everyone so they could better collect taxes. The journey was long and dangerous, all forced on them by the Romans who controlled every part of their lives. Mary and Joseph had no say in the matter. Mary, just days away from giving birth, was surely physically and mentally miserable. She might have been thinking of the friends she has lost after becoming pregnant while unmarried.
The social implications of her getting pregnant were disastrous and could be deadly. She probably would not have any friends who would associate with her when they returned from Bethlehem.
When they arrived in Bethlehem, Joseph’s town, there was no room for them to stay. It was there in Bethlehem that Mary gave birth to the Messiah, the Lord, Jesus. Luke 2:19 says, “[B]ut Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. All the pain she had/ or was going to face was worth it. For the promise God gave her was more important than what she was facing. And what she was facing was a hard life, of being ostracized as the “woman who got pregnant out of marriage” or even if she were to tell the truth it would be “the crazy woman who says she got pregnant by the spirit of God.”
The son of God, born in a stable with no royal doctors to attend to him or his exhausted mother. There was no grand ceremony to introduce him to this world. Chris Tomlins song, Winter Snow, sums this amazing event up perfectly:
“Could’ve come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could’ve come like a forest fire
With the power of Heaven in Your flame
(But) You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below”
It’s easy to get caught up in all the “have nots”: “I can’t see my family” or “I didn’t get the gift that I wanted.” That mentality voids the reason we celebrate.
At it’s core, the celebration of Christmas is a celebration of the sacrifice that Jesus made by coming down to be a human among the sinful people of Earth. Let the sacrifice that Jesus made comfort you in this time of great suffering and be your true North or your Bethlehem Star.
Even in a year of great suffering, there are always blessings to be found: a new job or more time spent with the family. Christmas was a bittersweet holiday originally—and even more this year.
G.K Chesterton said it best when he quipped, “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.”
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.