The cheerful postman wearing a Santa hat delivered Mom’s package, and as I opened it and hung the ornaments she had sent, I found myself both grateful for her care and sad about not being with my family this year (though I know it’s right, and I’ll enjoy being adopted for the day into a friend’s extended family here.)
I let myself feel the sadness and gave thanks for the gift of family that I want to be with, then lit the Advent candles and put on Handel’s Messiah. I suppose I was looking for Someone to be with me in my loneliness. Someone who had experienced loneliness himself.
I was surprised how quickly peace began to settle in. Perhaps it was simply that Someone was with me and in feeling his presence I didn’t feel alone anymore. But that wasn’t the first thing I noticed.
At first I thought that peace had come as I'd heard the choir sing and had been reminded that the story is not about me, lifting me out of my too-small focus.
And then I realized that was exactly backwards: the story is, incredibly, about me, and it was that reminder of immense, tender love that comes looking for me that was settling me into peace.
This is the good news of Christmas—we matter this much.
To us a child has been born and a Son given. To us angels sing good news and God announces the arrival of comfort and presence and peace. To us God comes and makes his home not merely among us but in us.
I reread Mary’s familiar song and for the first time I notice how unashamed she is to celebrate what God has done for her.
He hasn’t forgotten me! she sings. “He took notice of his lowly servant girl.” (Luke 1:48 MSG)
I matter! she sings. “From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me.” (v. 48-9 NIV)
And so do you and you and you! she cries to all generations. “His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him.” (v. 50 MSG)
As crazy as it seems considering our earthy beginnings, the One who has always been at the center brings us right in to stand with him at the center of this story. Christmas happened because of you and God’s love for you, because of me and his love for me. The omnipotent God left his home to come among us, weak and needy, to die and rise to make us his forever. What could announce with more startling force God’s own conviction that we matter?
Christmas is about me and my mattering. But not just about me, but about a love so big, a story so beautiful, a God so worthy of praise that I can take my small but significant place beside Mary and the angels and sing Hallelujah! to the One who loves (loves me!) like this.
Taking it deeper:
What arises within you as you read the question, "What could announce with more startling force God's own conviction that we matter?"
What, if anything, is keeping you from stepping confidently into sharing God's conviction that you matter?