The excitement and anticipation and chaos of Christmas have subsided (Happy Boxing Day to those of you that celebrate it!).
I’ve heard the Christmas story countless times in the last month. We’ve journeyed through a wonderful season of Advent and the kids have been setting up and playing with the toy nativity set under our tree for weeks.
It’s always a bit strange when it all ends. I try to dwell in the magic for a few for more days…. till New Year’s at least! But the truth is, I’ve already begun to mentally pack up the decorations and long for clear spaces in my cluttered home.
This year though, I’m taking something from the Christmas story with me into the new year.
When I think about dreams I’ve had and paths I’ve gone down, I can’t help but feel like so many times fear has trapped me under a glass ceiling. It’s taken me out on a never-rising plateau and left me there.
I want to live true to my calling, but I feel timid.
I want to feel bold, to act brave, but that fear ceiling presses down on me, threatening me with failure.
Fear complicates things. Being brave isn’t easy, but it’s actually pretty simple.
I open up to the book of Luke, and read a story that even my three-year old can recite with confidence. This time though, I read it with new eyes. I peer into the heart of a young girl and see her there on the pages, as the bold and brave woman that she was.
Three simple lessons Mary taught me about being brave
She asked questions
Mary wasn’t disrespectful, but she did have a couple of things she was curious about. Sometimes I feel like I have to pull up my bootstraps and prepare myself, have all the answers, or arrive at a certain place in my life before I can step forward bravely.
But I don’t. I just have to ask the right questions of the right people. I only need enough information to move from A to B, not from A to Z.
She was willing to do the work
No doubt Mary had observed other pregnant women– she knew the physical and emotional challenges that lied ahead. And even more so, she knew the cultural adversity she would face as an unwed mother.
Yet she trusted she was following her calling, and so she accepted it with strength and dignity.
She didn’t try to go it alone
It was an honor for Mary to be chosen, but it was also a great responsibility. Mary knew that she couldn’t walk this road by herself. She had the wisdom to accept support and guidance from the angel Gabriel, her cousin Elizabeth, Joseph her betrothed, and of course, God Himself.
To say that Mary didn’t let her fears hold her back from being brave might be a slight understatement. She was faced with an unprecedented situation, but in bravery she accepted her task and calling, so that here we are, over two thousand years later, still celebrating the Child to whom she gave birth.
We might not have all the answers, but as we approach the fresh slate of a new year, let’s seek out how we can go forward in boldness and with courage in whatever we’ve been called.
Fear wants to pin me down, but Mary’s showing me a new lesson from the Christmas story, and I’m taking Bravery with me into 2015.