Tonight the boys and I went to a Christmas party at church. It is usually a highlight of our Christmas celebration, but tonight it was bitter-sweet. Usually we go on Friday night, the busier night of the two. The gathering which is already smaller was even less attended tonight because it has rained hard all day. So we ate dinner alone. It was partly my fault. There were one or two families I could have gone and sat with, and should have, but by the time we realized who was where we were already sitting and eating, and I felt terribly alone.
During the worship and entertainment, I heard the song "Breath of Heaven" sung. I had a new sense of Mary's experience wash over me. I realized that although we know what Mary's initial reaction was to the news that she was to give birth to the Messiah, we are given little else between the announcement by the angel Gabriel, and her delivery. And suddenly tonight I felt a little of a sense of wonder about whether she must have felt alone for a while. Her kind and gentle Joseph, walking away in disappointment. The concern over the shame her parents and family would face having an unwed pregnant daughter. Do you think there were moments there of doubt, lonliness, anxiousness. Perhaps that was part of the reason God chose a girl barely herself a child. Did her youth and innocence shield her somewhat from worry?
I noticed also how quickly God stepped in. He sent her to Elizabeth. Someone who would believe the whole preposterous thing. Someone who would love her, encourage her, be her friend. Someone who would point her to God
God has done this for me too. In moments when I feel alone, cut off . . . I can't help but feel a twinge of guilt for even indulging such thoughts of self-pity because of the women God has put in my life who love me, encourage me, point me to God. There may not be stacks of presents under the tree for me this year. No expensive surprises, but God in His wisdom has already given me a most precious gift-first His own presence, then that of other believers who love me. Tie that up with a bow!