Marriott Battle

Christmas in October

I think I may love Christmas more than anyone on this Earth.

I have started listening to Christmas music, I watch vlogmas on Youtube every day leading up to Christmas Day, and I have 24 Christmas sweaters that I will wear the 24 days before Christmas.

I love Christmas so much.

But something threw me off when God told me to read the Christmas story the other day. Now, I'm not complaining. Of all the things God could have told me to do- reading the story of his son's birth is amazing and pretty easy in comparison to selling all my belongings or fasting for a year. But something in my soul felt like I was better than rereading the Christmas story. I mean, who doesn't know that?

So tonight I got home and began to read. And I found myself mouthing the words and dozing off as I read the amazing declaration of how my Savior began His life. I'd heard the verses so many times and on so many Christmas Eves that they've become pedestrian to me. 

But I kept hearing God in the back of my head, so I kept reading. And then I read something I'd never read before. 

"And Mary said: 'My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior... the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is his name.'" Luke 1:46-49

Mary talks about how amazing our God is for another few verses, but I was so struck by how this powerful woman was proclaiming God's praises. Now, yes- she's giving birth to the Savior of the world. But logically, as a critical reader I always have pause when I think about how hard it would be to have to tell my finance I'm pregnant. And then explain that I'm still a virgin. And then say that I'm pregnant with God's child.... Maybe not the easiest thing I could admit to. Let's be honest- Mary's situation wasn't the easiest. 

But even though she had a difficult calling to carry out, she still praises God and sees Him as perfect and holy. 

So why, when I feel like my professors give me too much work, or when I'm late to class, or I think the world is spinning too fast for me to really live in all the moments, do I question God? Why don't I exalt His name through everything, especially in the trials?

I think it's so easy to look at our lives and just see God after the trails, but what's amazing about Mary is that she saw Him during them.

I was talking to a friend earlier tonight about testimonies and how God works in such mysterious but awesome ways. I hear so many amazing testimonies everyday, and I just can't imagine hearing them and still not believing in our God. Like, if there is someone in this world who can literally deliver me from my suicidal past, or a friend from an abusive home, or even a girl who has never felt real joy- if someone can deliver those people and make them even more in love with life and life in Christ, well I want that God. 

But, I'm not giving birth to the Savior of the World. I'm not going through the most difficult time in my life right now. How can I praise God like Mary did, even my situation is nothing like hers? 

I know if you've heard the gospel, you've heard to praise God through the trails. But what about when nothing is really happening? What about those days when you get in your bed and you honestly don't think you accomplished anything that day? God is still there, and honestly, when nothing is happening in your life, he may just be preparing you for your next battle. You may be getting some spiritual rest before the next time God uses you. And God is always using you, so why should you ever stop singing His praises?

Every time I hear a praise story of people overcoming trails and trusting God throughout, my faith gets bigger- so why shouldn't I do that more often? Is it only easy to call on Him in the hard times? Should I only go to my Lord when I'm the closest I've ever been to my breaking point? He's dealing with civil wars right now, does He really want to hear about how I don't want to do my math problems? 

Yes, not only does God want to hear, but people around you want to see you have such a strong relationship that you go to your Heavenly Father for everything because He created everything. 

So, I read the Christmas story and I didn't really get the feeling of jingle bells and mistletoe. But I gained so much more respect for Mary and began a new goal of being so in love with the Lord that I tell him everything, because I know He already knows me that well.

Marriott Battle