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Sunday, September 22, 2019

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“Mary Dreams” helps us to understand the true meaning of Christmas

“Mary Dreams” helps us to understand the true meaning of Christmas

Every family has its own stories. These stories may become embellished over time but they are part of our family’s history that helps us to discover our own identity.

We tell these stories over and over at family gatherings and the telling of them helps us to discover who we are as part of our family.

We Christians also have our stories that we tell often. Matthew and Luke tell us about the birth of Jesus. God became one of us on that first Christmas morning in a stable, not a palace, to teach us the true values of life. What is inside of us is more important than what is outside of us. Because of Jesus’ birth, we can have the divine life within us. We just need to take time and discover it.

One of my favorite Christmas stories is entitled “Mary’s Dream” by an unknown author. I have used this story in previous columns but like every good story, it deserves to be told repeatedly.

Mary speaks, “I had a dream, Joseph. I do not understand it, not really, but I think it was about a birthday celebration for our Son. I think that was what it was all about. The people have been preparing for it for about six weeks. They had decorated the house and bought new clothes. They had been shopping often and bought elaborate gifts.

“It was peculiar, though, because the presents were not for our Son. They wrapped them in beautiful paper and tied them with lovely bows and stacked them under a tree – yes, a tree, Joseph, right in their house. They decorated the tree also. It was full of glowing balls, lights and sparkling ornaments.

“A figure was on the top of the tree. It looked like an angel might look. Oh, it was beautiful! Everyone was laughing and happy. They were all excited about the gifts. They gave the gifts to each other, Joseph, not to our Son. I do not think they even knew him. They never mentioned his name. Doesn’t it seem odd for people to go to all that trouble to celebrate someone’s birthday if they do not know him?

“I had the strangest feeling that if our Son had gone to this celebration he would have been intruding. Everything was so beautiful, Joseph, and everyone so full of cheer, but it made me want to cry. How sad for Jesus – not to be wanted at his own birthday celebration. I am glad it was only a dream. How terrible would it be, Joseph, if it had been real.”

In Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago, many family gatherings took place because of the census. People were partying and enjoying each other’s company. When the Son of God was born into our world, only a few shepherds were aware of this tremendous event.

What about our Christmas celebrations? Do we include Jesus? Are we repeating the first Christmas story all over by not making room in our hearts for Jesus to be born?

In the midst of this hectic time of the year – parties to attend, last minute shopping to do, presents to wrap, concerts and pageants to attend, family gatherings to prepare for, etc. – find a quiet place and observe and interact with the “beauty” around you. Listen to the birds sing, notice the bare trees, the poinsettias, family, friends, co-workers.

Allow their unique beauty to reach deep into your being to become the “Word made flesh.” In the coming year, notice the ways this divine “Word” is being revealed to you, in you. Make God known by revealing it to others!

May your Christmas be filled with Beauty, Peace, Joy, and Hope!