2017 will be our first Christmas in Cali. We've been adjusting to the West Coast life for about 4 months. It's been great and it's been tough at times. We love where we live in Pasadena, it's such a great city. Our church is amazing and it has some of the most wonderful people in it.
This year will also be our first Christmas with no family. Just the three of us. Of course that comes with the pressure of trying to make it a great one. I've been trying to think of activities and ideas of things to do and places to go so that we have the best memories of our first Christmas by ourselves. We'll make cookies and rice krispy treats with Jordan and go somewhere really fun the day after Christmas. Me and Jordan will paint pottery on Christmas Eve together. but I put pressure on myself to make Christmas magical for Jordan like it was for me as a kid. (Thanks Mom! You always made it so special.)
But as I thought about writing this blog, I started thinking about the first Christmas. I started thinking about Mary and her journey. She had to go all the way to Bethlehem, not by choice, and 10 months pregnant with Jesus. I probably would've have thought if I'm pregnant with Jesus, I could get a pass or something! And then getting to Bethlehem and going into labor, all to find out there aren't any rooms available. At that point, I would've felt like God had abandoned me. If I was in Mary's position, the only reason I was in labor at all, was because God "found favor" with me, and now I can't even find a hotel room to deliver this baby. Where was that favor now? I would've have felt like it was so wrong to give birth to a king in a stable. Why wouldn't God have a beautiful room for Jesus to be born in? Instead of one filled with the smell of donkey poop and hay.
To be honest, during these past 8 months of transition, there have been a handful of times I've felt this way. Wondering why things weren't going the way I felt they should be. Especially, because the only reason we were in these situations was because we were being obedient to what we heard God tell us. And sometimes I felt like God had abandoned us. That we followed Him all the way across the country, with no family, to start completely over and to feel alone. Alone for Christmas, and alone in other areas. Living in an empty apartment for two weeks because our stuff was delayed by Hurricane Irma, but wanting nothing more than to feel like we were "home". We hadn't had our own home in 6 months. When Jordan was having so much trouble adjusting and his separation anxiety had worn us all out, I wondered where God was. We were only going through all of this because we listened. Because we traveled our own journey to California or maybe it was our "Bethlehem". There were moments where I felt like I could smell the donkey poop and hay. Why wasn't God fixing the problems? Why wasn't there any room in the Inn? Why did we have to travel so far?
But then I thought back to Mary. If she hadn't faced the problems, she wouldn't have fulfilled the promise. If she hadn't traveled to Bethlehem 10 months pregnant, then the prophecy of where Jesus was born wouldn't have been fulfilled. If all the Inns didn't tell her they were full, the prophecy of "finding him lying in a manager, wrapped in swaddling clothes" would have never been complete. Sometimes our problems are the very way that God shows His promises. I can say this is so true through these few months. God has shown himself so faithful, even though there were problems. Problems that I didn't think He was fixing fast enough, but through all of it, His promises are still true. So if you're facing problems during this Christmas season, hold on to those promises you have. Scriptures that promise "He'll never leave you or forsake you." Promises He's spoken to you about doors He'll open, relationships He'll heal, needs that He'll meet.
Problems have to go through a process to make it to the place of a promise. Mary had to go through an uncomfortable process to get to where the promise was. It was her faith that kept her through it all. Clearly, I've confessed that my faith would've have probably questioned God, and I have questioned Him plenty of times lately. But I do know that He is faithful, He cannot fail, and He will always fulfill His promise.
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus with family and friends! We'll be blowing out candle's for Jesus's birthday and making the best memories of our first Christmas in Cali.