As a little girl, I loved playing with my momís Nativity set.
The Christmas storyís hodgepodge cast of characters fascinated me. Every holiday, I arranged and rearranged the shepherds and wise men, Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. I wondered what all happened that night so very long ago.
What did Mary and Joseph talk about huddled together under the Christmas star? Did the animals wake the sleeping babe?
This year, as my son and I unpacked our Nativity, I thought most about Mary. I recalled when I was pregnant with my first, feeling ready but not ready. Not only was Mary a first-time mom, she was a teenage newlywed. She must have felt frightened, laboring and walking in the night, searching for a place to stay.
Still, she walked by faith. She honored Godís intentions. She believed Ė in miracles.
Yes, we moms can learn a lot from Mary. About strength and sacrifice. About unconditional love.
Maryís birth story is not entirely unlike all birth stories. Mary endured great pain followed by great joy. She trusted Joseph to follow Godís lead. And despite unforeseen circumstances, she welcomed a child. She could have given up but instead adapted to give her baby the best start possible.
As a mother, Mary demonstrated remarkable courage. She not only carried the stress of raising a child, said child was the foretold savior. Every burp. Every cry. Every sleepless night. His well being rested in her tired hands. I cannot begin to imagine.
And Mary knew. As Jesus grew into manhood, she knew the loss to come. She didnít waver in her devotion. Weeping, she let him go.
Looking at my Nativity, I realize the Christmas story is made up of several smaller tales. Each little figurine played a different part in that magical night. Every piece matters.
This weekend the Crossing Church will present "Christmas: A Story of Promise" at itís two campuses in Tampa and Ruskin. You can experience this retelling of Nativity at 4 and 6 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 23) at the Tampa location, 10130 Tuscany Ridge, as well as 8:45 and 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 24). Or at the Ruskin campus, 3058 E College Ave., at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday (Dec. 24).
For more information, visit wearecrossing.com/christmas.
Contact Sarah Whitman at [email protected]