The Reason for Christmas

“Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.

This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.

And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city.

cross and Christmas treeAnd Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night.

And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.’

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’

And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’

And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.”

Luke 2:1-16 NASB

Return to Joy

After thirteen years, the poem copied below still brings a smile to my heart, evidence of the healing I’ve found in God. It is written from the perspective of an unborn baby, the first baby I carried in my womb and the first baby who died in my womb.

With my first miscarriage in February of 1998, I became deeply depressed. Three days later I attended church and the first song we sang was “Ode to Joy.” I couldn’t sing it, because I cried the whole way through. My doctor did not understand the emotional extremes from my hormones, but God understood.

My Lord stayed by my side and whispered tenderly to me. Like a toddler, I repeatedly wandered off, but only because I knew He would be right by my side when I needed Him. When I spoke angrily to Him, He responded with firm reassurance and loving-kindness. On days when I was able to accept His Word for me, poetry or Bible study materials flowed onto paper.

That miscarriage experience was unforgettable, not because of the pain involved, but because of the Comforter by my side. Not because of the anxiety and insecurity, but because of the Rock my foot rested on. My loving Redeemer made it easy to ask for healing and a return to joy.

This poem was inspired by Philippians 1:21, “To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” This was how I was able to accept that my baby was dead, even though I was still alive. In this verse, the apostle Paul struggled with competing desires. He wanted to stay alive so he could continue to help people and do God’s work here on earth. He also eagerly wanted heaven with all its glory, majesty and the absence of sin. Whether alive or dead, we are within God’s will and participating in His good plan for us. This verse healed my heart, so that I was able to find joy in the middle of the mess. As I rejoiced that my baby could see Jesus, peace found its way back into my life.

Oh Boy!

You came down to me
You gave me a choice.
I chose to be free
And You paid the price.

You took me from the world
Forever in the sky
Oh, never to be held
Or even to say goodbye.

My sadness was replaced
With all hope, love and joy
And just seeing Your face
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!

~ submitted by Patti Works, GateWay of Hope Volunteer