Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Holidays

Presented as a morning devotion for teachers in a private school in Hong Kong on November 19, 2007

18: Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened like this: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

19: Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately.

20: But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

21: And she shall bring forth a son, and you will call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22: Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23: Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 1:18-25

My really smart, looks 25 years younger than she is, hard working, successful, and loving wife did something that I should have expected this weekend but caught me by surprise anyway.

She put up and decorated a Christmas tree. Seeing as it is almost Thanksgiving and some of the buildings in Central already have their gaudy light displays that change from Christmas to Julian New Year to Chinese New Year up I shouldn’t have been surprised by this but I was. I realized on Saturday that this was the first time I can remember that I was not really looking forward to the holiday season. This has been a tough year for us and the end of the year is going to be even tougher.

The school I work for moves to a new building in a month and I’m somewhat stressed about packing and moving. But more than that, my wife and I have made plans this year for our careers that God has set aside three times. We’ve canceled airline tickets that were non-refundable, lost a couple of friends over our changed plans and generally been in a state of uncertainty about where to live and what to do. The wife decided not to take a job in Singapore and I decided to not pursue one in Fort Worth. Each of us really wanted these but simply felt that God has something else for us. He isn’t telling us what that something is. Lastly our daughter is coming back for a visit this Christmas and is bringing “The Boyfriend” with her for us to meet. I’m not looking forward to it. All of these things and probably a few others had conspired to make me apprehensive of the approaching holiday season

And then I thought of Mary. I find it odd that we don’t know more of her family in the Bible. Imagine your reaction if your daughter came in and said “Dad, I’ve just talked to an angel and he said I’m going to become pregnant with the Messiah even though I’m a virgin.” Try explaining that to your neighbors! I bet Mary’s parents were not looking forward to that first Christmas. I doubt that Joseph was in much of a festive mood either. It would appear to me that there would be a lot in such a narrative that would be of spiritual value. All we can know is that it was probably a stressful time for everyone concerned. Yet, out of this very difficult situation came the greatest of blessings.

Anyway, while thinking of Mary and her family and Joseph and his concerns this weekend I realized anew that I simply need to be thankful for what has gone on in my life this year. I was reminded how easy it is to focus on what is wrong and the things I don’t like and to miss the blessings falling from the sky all around me.

I also need to remember that from the most trying situations come the greatest blessing.

So as we enter another holiday season may the Blessing of the Christ be manifest in you. May the joy of heaven fill your heart and the beauty of the Son of God become a light to your eyes.

Happy Thanksgiving

Merry Christmas

Let us look forward to a new year

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger looking forward to the holidays

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