Advent 2014 // Making Memories

Day 12 of Having a "Mary" Christmas in a Martha World

Isaiah 65:17, John 14:26, Psalms 112:6

Being a teacher, my time during Christmas is a little more enjoyable than most people. I get about two weeks off to enjoy with family and friends, to go shopping, to clean my house a million times, to decorate beyond reason, to wrap presents beyond belief and to bake an unreasonable amount of cookies. But I find the most trying part and difficult part of Christmas is the pressure of making memories with those that we are spending our time with. 

Two and a half years ago, while on the way to my wedding, my Grandmother died in a car accident. It was trying. It was devastating. It was tragic. The idea of not having her in her gorgeous dress standing at my wedding ceremony just eleven days later seemed unbearable. Six months later, not being able to call her or see her on Christmas was undeniably hard. Or a year later, to call her and share the joy of my daughter being born. We start to really think and recount those moments and wonder if we spent them as we should, if we made the most of each moment with the ones we have lost, or with the ones that aren’t near due to distance, or other circumstances. 

All of a sudden, the first year has come and you’re wondering how it has all gone so fast. Suddenly, you have stumbled upon the second Christmas and are making sure that each moment is done to a T. You are making sure that you are soaking up the conversations of those around you, and trying to take the mental pictures of sitting with Auntie Em, so that when she is gone, you won’t forget the one precious thing about marriage, or babies, or life. 

Christmas, over time and due to society, has put such a pressure on us: that we have to make these memories, that we have to cherish every single moment with those that we are with. While Christmas is this time to bring families together to celebrate the Savior’s birth, it is also a time to celebrate life. After all, isn’t that what we do each and every year we celebrate a birthday? We shouldn’t be changing our demeanor and the way we act because we are fearful that we aren’t making enough memories when we truly act as ourselves and cherish our true authentic moments with those around us without pressuring ourselves to make those memories.

These are the moments that we will see Christ, because we weren’t distracted by trying to make the memories but were doing them without any pressure.  And in these moments that we are called to be the most like Mary. Mary, gave birth to her son in a manger, the lowest of low circumstances and never once complained or focused on the fact that she was not with her family or friends. Or could you imagine if Mary said, “Listen, I am going to force every moment into a memory because Jesus is going to give himself up for the world eventually.” Um no! She wasn’t anticipating what was to come in the next few years but she focused on the moment that she was welcoming our Lord and Savior into the world. 

It is more than okay to miss those that are gone and to miss those that aren’t with us, but let us not lose sight of what the true meaning of this season is. Let us all go into the Christmas season with a heart open to making memories while in the moment rather than anticipating the future of what is to come. Let us go into this Christmas season with our hearts focused on the birth of Christ like Mary did. 

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