By Carol Round
ASSIST News Service
When I was a child, I loved to read. Without being aware of it, I often curled my toes under in anticipation of what would happen on the next page before I turned it. Mysteries were my favorite.
Today, my favorite book is the Bible. Its pages are filled with mysteries, never to be solved by the limited capacity of the human brain. However, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Christ follower who anticipates what God will do next.
Wrapping our minds around a virgin birth requires us to lay our disbelief at the entrance to the stable. To believe God would come to earth in the form of a tiny baby to save the world requires us to suspend our own understanding and to trust in the One who created everything.
In the days leading up to His birthday, I love rereading the events preceding Jesus’ birth. In Luke 1:41, the author tells us, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Just like the baby in Elizabeth’s womb, an unsurpassed joy fills my being in anticipation of this Holy Mystery. However, just as Mary anticipated the birth of this special child, we are required to wait patiently for His return one day.
Children have a difficult time being patient when brightly wrapped packages under the Christmas tree lure them to shake the contents. My grandchildren are no exception. They can’t see the gift tightly wrapped underneath the tree, but they hope it’s something on their wish list.
Mary no doubt had a wish list. As most mothers, she had plans for her baby to be born among family, where he would be welcomed with gifts of warm clothes and other necessities. And what about Joseph? I’m sure, as the family’s provider, he would have wanted only the best for this holy child. But that wasn’t God’s plan. God often surprises us, as He did this couple-with a stable, a manger and swaddling clothes. It’s not what they anticipated but it was enough.
Many are disappointed when they open their Christmas gifts because it’s not enough. But imagine Mary and Joseph’s delight when God gave them more. After hearing the angel of the Lord proclaim the Good News, the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem to find the Christ child. After seeing him lying in the manger, they left to spread the Good News. In Luke 2:19, we are told, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
While we celebrate this beautiful season, let us ponder the treasure of a baby sent from Heaven for each one of us. His birth, still a mystery, should fill our hearts with joy. No other gift we have received or will receive can compare to this. “For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that we might have eternal life.”
Carol Round is a syndicated columnist, author and speaker. She has been writing her weekly column, A Matter of Faith, after retiring from a 30-year teaching career in 2005. Her five books include three collections of her columns: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. In 2012, Westbow Press released her book, “Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God” with the companion workbook, “The 40-Day Challenge.” All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon.com or by contacting the author through www.carolaround.com.