It was one of the most emotionally draining Christmases ever that till today it still leaves me panting for air. But spiritually it was the most enriching loving Christmas ever. As I got more into the "Stations of the Nativity" by Raymond Chapman, which I had picked up last Christmas - Love brought more insight. Watching the latest "Nativity Story" brought more light too.
The movie told the truth that Joseph and Mary were outcasts, Mary for having a child that was not Joseph's and Joseph for not stoning her. This to me is almost like a foreshadowing of Christ’s meeting with Magadalene. God forever takes me off guard. And I thought besides the Cross His reaching out was made strong in the Writings of the Sand (which is a post I will write about in the near future), but surprise surprise there is more passion than we can never imagine in this God. So I'll start going through the Stations that will always stay in my heart.
Zechariah - This station sat the stage. God's timing is perfect. Things happen for a reason. Elizabeth was the right mother for John and who knows maybe the right listening ear for Mary through that hard time. Watching "The Nativity" a window of understanding opened to me about the quality of Good in God, and that our idea of good and perfect, no matter how pure is totally different from God's. Good to us means everything goes perfectly the way we want it. When God said all is good, it meant things worked together - are in unison. Nature, God's creation is good. Nature like everything is interconnected. All is a domino effect of some sort. Seeing all the events leading to and after Christ's birth - I paid attention to the fact that the Father was guiding Mary and Joseph all along. I noticed that everything happened for a reason and all those events no matter how crazy and how dangerous God steered it to good. All along when the Father and the Spirit guided the Holy Family through Bethlehem then to Egypt, all they encountered happened because of love for them and us.
Stations along the manger (Christ's Birth, Shepherds and Magi) - This brought a deeper awareness of the Person of Christ. Being born in a lowly place meant that Christ was not going to be exempt from the human drama. No, Christ, the moment He took His first breath was going to experience the human pain of being poor and an outcast. The visiting of the shepherds confirmed His message was for the poor. The visiting of the magi not only served to let us know Christ is a King and born for kings, but how science and magic did not have the answers and creation was waiting for this time. These wise men saw His star way before He was conceived by the Spirit. Magic and science pointed to Him. All I can say here is WOW.
Stations of the Flight into Egypt and Massacre of the Innocents- Here the theme of all things work for good, and have a purpose when founded in Christ, is imminent. Christ's life was being pursued. So where of all places does God lead His Son? To Egypt. He relives the journey of His people. Through Raymond Chapman I learnt that this journey to Egypt is not just a journey to reach out to the Israelites. This journey that the Holy Family took was to also experience what many daily experience - the flight to other lands because home is no longer safe. Tears fill my eyes when I realize that Christ too experienced what my family and I had, running from one border line to another in the middle of the night . . . Yes God takes my breath away. It makes me bite my tongue every time I want to say to God "that's hard Lord you don't understand . . ."
I was glad that this Christmas I took it easy on the parties and gift giving. I cut out that stress and still had a lot of weight to carry. But through it all I felt secure. Also, though not as strong as I wanted - I felt joy. Something that a bible teacher had once told me and I had just kind pushed under the rug, the fact that joy and happiness are similar but not the same suddenly became apparent.