It is the most wonderful time of the year. And as far as I know it is the same all over the world. I spent a Christmas on the other side of the hemisphere where it was the middle of summer and there was still the same Christmasy feeling. The spirit of Christmas. The spirit of Christ, the light of the world. How grateful I am for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Born into the most humble of circumstances but King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I love Handel's Messiah- our Christmas wouldn't be complete without (attempting) to sing the Hallelujah Chorus.
I think there is so much I have yet to learn about the story of Christ's birth. But I have been thinking about a lesson I learned one Christmas when my oldest was a baby. As part of a church activity for the women we watched a special program that featured the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and a portrayal of the nativity story. I have forgotten the particulars of the video but hopefully someday I will come across it again. (If this sounds familiar to anyone please let me know.) We were watching it in someone's theater room and when they turned out the lights it was pitch dark. I felt like I was the only one in the room and all I could see was the story of the nativity unfolding before me. I felt like I was right there, witnessing it first hand, with the singing angels around me. And maybe partly because of that, it became so real, so true to me. More than just a story that we repeat and read every year.
I realized that Mary and Joseph were human beings like us that were given an awesome responsibility. But life went on. Everything didn't automatically start going perfectly even though they were bringing the Savior into the world. They still had to deal with ordinary inconveniences like paying taxes despite the fact that they were righteous and fulfilling a very important prophecy and commandment. A prophecy of such eternal significance. Things didn't just work out perfectly and fall into place.
I wondered how Mary must have felt at 10 months pregnant having to travel so far to pay taxes. Traveling away from her family and this her first experience with pregnancy! What horrible timing! And then once they got there they couldn't even find a room to stay in. How they must have worried! Or maybe not- I'm sure they had more faith than I do. I just think about how I feel when I am about to go into labor- the feelings of nesting and wanting everything to be prepared and clean and ready. I am overly worried about germs and sicknesses. And they knew who this special baby was. Did they feel like they were already failing as parents?
Often times when I feel like I'm being taught spiritual things I can't describe what I learn in words. And a lot of what I learend that night I can only explain as an understanding. I felt like I understood things that I thought I'd already known but realized I didn't really know. Does that make any sense? And at that time one of the biggest lessons for me was that even when we are doing what's right and what we know we should be doing, even when we are doing our very best, things don't always happen as planned or how we would like them to. But maybe the things we think should matter so much aren't so very important. We just keep trusting in God and keep trying our best. And as a good friend of mine once said, "Even if everything is not okay right now, in the end we know it will be." Thanks to that wonderful baby who's birthday is the most wonderful time of the year!