Monday, December 21, 2009

The Christ in Me

Like many people, the holidays are a bittersweet time for me. Some days I am immensely grateful for all that I have, and others I feel overwhelmed and burdened. Today was a day that seemed difficult to feel grateful. I recognized the depression and vowed to pull myself out of it. So, mustering as much excitement as I possibly could, I roused my children and we decorated the tree. Hubby put on his version of christmas music (cue Cartman of South Park trying to sing O Holy Night!) and we hung our ornaments. After, my daughter and I decided to take a ride to look at Christmas lights. I had found a CD of christmas music I purchased last year that hadn't been opened, so we opened it up and sang along as we drove and admired the lights.

We were nearly home when one of my favorites, "Breath of Heaven" recorded by Amy Grant, came on. I'm not a huge fan of Amy Grant by any means, but this particular song strikes me every time I listen to it. The fear, the humility, the need that Mary feels to live up to God's expectation of her is extraordinarily captured in the lyrics of the song. As we listened, my daughter commented, "This is so pretty, Mom."

Tonight, for the first time, I came to understand this song in a new way. Here are a portion of the lyrics (again, so I'm not infringing on copyright, this is from Breath of Heaven recorded by Amy Grant)

I am waiting
In a silent prayer
I am frightened
By the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?

As I listened to these words, I began to cry. These words so describe my experiences with my own son. The responsibility that I bear in caring for him, in worrying that I will not be able to fulfill God's desires for him. That I will fail him, and fail God. And in that moment I suddenly realized that we all are carrying a bit of Christ within us. The part that we view as our role in this world, our responsibility to God, is the Christ within us. We can all relate to Mary and her frightening, painful journey.

Do you wonder
As you watch my face
If a wiser one
Should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong
Help me be
Help me.

The prayer I have whispered so many nights over the last nine years. Certainly my child is no Christ child. But he IS God's child. And I worry desperately that I will fail him. That I will flounder and fall and come short on God's yardstick.

Mary prayed to God for strength. For hope. She relied on God to hold things together when it got rough. She trusted that He hadn't created this miracle for nothing. That despite the pain and stigma it was bound to cause her, she would be protected, "mother of all mothers". And it occurs to me, if Mary could trust God with her son, why can't I trust Him with mine?

Certainly my son is not the only bit of Christ I carry with me. There are many other things that I nurse inside my heart, that I feel God is guiding if I let Him. Letting someone else take the wheel? Well that's the hard part, isn't it?

Many years ago I attended a Unity church. Every Sunday when it was time to greet our neighbors, we would say, "The Christ in me greets the Christ in you and we work together for the glory of God." Tonight, for the first time, I think I truly, truly understand what that means.

Who or what is your Christ child? And do you trust God enough to lean on Him for strength to bring His plan to fruition, or do you flounder like me? Trust is hard. But in a season of miracles, maybe it's possible.

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