T'was the night before

T'was the night before Christmas... well, actually it t'was the night before the night before Christmas eve...
start again:
Twas the night before  Christmas eve,
when all through the halls, many creatures are trampling the malls.
Some cookies adorned, be them slice up and bake
in hopes that icing would cover for times' sake.
Stressed parents aren't sleeping, well maybe slumped on the couch
after shopping online  and spending... well, ouch!

Clearly. a poet I am NOT.  Although one can barely hear those words, "Twas the night before Christmas" without finishing the sentence and conjuring the beautifully illustrated "visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads."

Though truthful admission, my cherished moments of this season often appear late in the night... donning my frayed pink checkered pajama pants and Frank's favorite Dallas cowboys t-shirt.  Wrapped snuggly around a cheerful Christmas mug filled with steamy coffee or the occasional apple cider (a newly discovered treat), my hands are free to enjoy the moment, forgoing my insatiable need to "write it down". 

With the glow of dimmed radiance mingling with torn, handmade, memory-filled ornaments, the tree gently stands at attention.  Clothed in layers of white, our familiar angel atop the tree gently smiles down on the quiet moment. 

Where do my thoughts wander?  Everywhere about everyone trying to remember everything while desiring to simply guide my attention to a simple reminder of the purpose for all things we are trying so desperately to accomplish.

And then, once more, I'm drawn to Mary... mother of Jesus.  Follow a simple outline of Mary's "life and times" with me.

She perceived and received the news:
But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus." Luke 1:30-31

She praised God about the news:
My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.  For He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  Luke 1:46-48

She participated in the news:
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  Luke 2:6-7

She pondered the news:
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Luke 2:19

Friends, I can... you can... follow Mary's lead in experiencing afresh the wonder of this life-changing, world-changing birth of Jesus.

Might you join me... not just in this evening before Christmas, instead let's spend a few weeks... or even a few months, responding in just the Mary did. 

Perceive once more the news of His birth
Praise again the news of His birth
Participate intentionally in the news of His birth
Ponder each day the good news of His birth

and then, practice daily our response to this good news of great joy for all the people as we have the privilege of loving others in our words, actions and reactions.

Praising God and saying,

Glory to God in the highest heaven, 
and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.