Sallie Mathis has been a member of our staff at Wieuca for fifteen years. Along with Quenson Beavers, Lisa Lamar, and Eric Brown, Sallie spends many hours taking care of us at church. You will see her during the week and on the weekends doing the jobs that keep us going. On Tuesday, she asked me if I was getting excited about Christmas. The look on her face told me that she was. She reminded me that she was thankful, that we all should be thankful for what we have.
I know sometimes it is easy to dwell on what we don’t have. The holidays can be hard to get through for many people. At the same time, even when it is painful there are reasons to give thanks, to count our blessings.
Most of us will never fully understand the circumstances of the birth of Christ. Mary had to endure an assault on her reputation. Joseph had to withstand the temptation to avoid the embarrassment that his pending marriage might bring.
The journey to Bethlehem could not have been easy. The crowded village offered little accommodation to the expectant mother. Women often died in childbirth in those days and in those conditions. The King of kings was laid in a feeding trough.
The first witnesses to the birth were a gang of disreputable shepherds. When King Herod learned of the birth, he ordered a horrific campaign of infanticide. The young couple had to flee for their lives to Egypt.
It was hard. We want to paint haloes on the donkey and make the story whimsical, but the story almost ended before it began. God chose a hard-to-believe narrative to reveal His desire to rescue us from ourselves. He must have felt we were worth all the trouble.
Don’t forget to be thankful this Christmas. Don’t let the rush of the season ruin the magic and mystery. If you could have seen the joy in Sallie’s face, you would know what I mean.