Who wrapped the first Christmas present? The answer is in the Bible and this week's Bible Lesson. "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes..." (Luke 2:7) That Mary was the mother of Jesus. What an amazing event, witnessed by just a few people. Mary and Joseph had taken refuge in a cave or stable, the only place available in crowded Bethlehem where so many had gathered to register and pay taxes to Caesar Augustus. It may be that no one was present when this 'gift' arrived but Joseph and Mary. But in a nearby field, a group of shepherds were keeping watch over the flock that night and an angel comes to them with this momentous news, telling them about the birth of the holy child and where they might find him. So off they go, the first party of Christmas visitors. Later the Wise Men, following the star, would travel far to present this child with gifts worthy of a king.
Years later, grown to manhood, Jesus travelled around teaching, preaching and healing. He was often a guest at the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Wherever the Master went, crowds followed and that house would fill to overflowing. Martha, a conscientious hostess, would scurry around providing hospitality for them all. She was upset with her sister, Mary, who did not help her. But Jesus points out that Mary has chosen to sit at his feet and listen.
Don't miss the excellent testimony in this week's Sentinel about 'A Christmas Full of Peace'. So many of us get caught up in the hustle bustle of the holiday season and forget to spend quiet time thinking about the Nativity. Did you know that was the one thing Mrs. Eddy has asked us to memorize? "It is most fitting that Christian Scientists memorize the nativity of Jesus'. (Misc 374: 17-18) The writer of the testimony mentioned, wishing to gain a more spiritual apprehension of the nativity, studied everything Mrs. Eddy wrote about Christmas and the story of the nativity in Matthew and Luke. She stopped worrying about holiday preparations and had a healing of a physical problem.
So this year I am striving to have a 'Mary' Christmas. There is so much to appreciate in the Gospel accounts of the nativity. I want to be like those shepherds and hear the angels singing. I want to be wise and follow the light of the star. I want to present a gift of gratitude. I want to choose to stop bustling around and sit at his feet.
So I wish you all a 'Mary' Christmas and a merry Christmas.
God bless us, everyone one!