What is God Birthing in You?

12-24-2022

The holidays bring up a lot of memories. Memories that make us smile. Memories that make us cry. We get to choose how to manage whatever comes up, but sometimes it can seem like the feelings are bigger than we are.

Holidays are difficult for many people. But, I think about my grandparents and cousins and how much fun we had together. At one house, we would get to see Santa on Christmas Eve. He always stopped to see us before embarking on his journey worldwide to deliver toys. Sure enough, we would wake up on Christmas morning to the toys that Santa had left. Then we would have a huge breakfast that Grandma had made. It was a morning of fun, wonder, laughter, and family connection.

At the other house, we would open gifts on Christmas Eve. It was perfect; we got to open presents for two days. This side of the family was big, so there were a lot of cousins to play with. On Christmas Day, there would be even more. Grandma would make a big meal and a lot of desserts. After dinner, we would often play games. Our favorite card game was Rook, and Grandma loved to play with us. There were differences between the two families, but the experience was the same; fun, wonder, laughs, and family connection.

The sense of family connection continues to this day, even though grandparents, aunts, and uncles have died. The memories, though, continue to live. There’s still a lingering sadness when I think about my parents because their deaths are more recent. I miss the sense of family connection during the holidays. It’s strange to realize that the early memories that bring me happiness included my parents, even though I feel sadness around later memories.

On Christmas Eve, I think about a young pregnant girl about to give birth in a city that isn’t her own. Everything is uncertain. The journey to Bethlehem couldn’t have been easy. She believed that her baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit and that she had been chosen by God to birth the very Son of God, but I don’t think for one moment that Mary didn’t experience human emotions on her journey. I don’t know what Mary felt, but I know how I would feel. Scared. Tired. Unsure of what was about to happen. I might even wonder if I had imagined the angel Gabriel speaking to me about being chosen to carry this baby. But, despite what she was experiencing internally, Mary kept going. She trusted her husband and continued to rely on her faith in God. Did she ever waver in that faith? I’m pretty sure that I would have. Yet, these situations provide us with an opportunity to experience the love of God more deeply.

God doesn’t chastise us for wavering in our faith. We do enough of that ourselves. I like to think that God spoke to Mary amid any uncertainty she was feeling. Yet, her circumstances didn’t change; her inner experience changed. Humans haven’t changed since the night that Jesus was born. We still experience all sorts of emotion even when we feel certain that God is leading us. That’s not a lack of faith; it’s the human experience. We can learn to manage the low moods and uncertainty by first accepting them. If I’m experiencing sadness and doubt, I’m experiencing sadness and doubt. I don’t need to judge myself and feel worse. I probably need to cry. God will be there. As I begin to listen to God’s still, small voice, I also start to experience things differently. Maybe our difficult experiences are ways for God to birth something new in our lives, just as Mary birthed Jesus.

© 2022 Deborah Bray Haddock

2 responses to “What is God Birthing in You?”

  1. Mary Jo Friesleben Avatar
    Mary Jo Friesleben

    I am learning to embrace the solitude rather than try to manage my grief

    Like

    1. I think embracing solitude is an excellent way to pay attention to grief.

      Like

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