December 26, 2016


My family and I spent Christmas Eve on the coast this year. Normally, the coast on Saturdays is filled with cars and people but the parking lots were quiet, the sandy beaches deserted, and the sound of the waves and cars driving along the highway lulled us all into a peaceful mood.

It had been months since I'd last seen the ocean. But it was the perfect way to prepare my heart for Christmas. This was the first year (in my twenty-something years of life) where I've actually been truly focused on Jesus' birth. I'm not perfect, friends. In fact, most Christmases I'm so focused on the gift-giving (and occasionally gift-receiving) aspect of Christmas that I forget to remember and focus on why we celebrate this holiday to begin with.

But this year, I've spent much of December contemplating, reflecting, and inside my mind. And I've found myself relating more and more to Mary and Zechariah in the story of Jesus' birth. Mary's faith, her obedience, her willingness to lay down her earthly value as a virgin to take on a role of mother of Jesus. And Zechariah, who waited and waited for a son. And when God tells him Elizabeth would give birth to a son, he doubts and God takes away his voice. But the thing that gets to me the most? The first words that come out of his mouth when he John is born (and his voice returns) are songs of PRAISE. He praises God. He doesn't complain, he doesn't say "finallllly," nor does he exclaim in excitement over his son's birth. He praises God for his provision, goodness, and faithfulness.

There's so much light in Jesus--including in the story of His birth. And it's such a vivid reminder of the light we have to search for in life, both literally and figuratively.

When we were at the coast, we found ourselves following a cloud as we drove along to see the different beaches along the highway. The lighting was good at times, not so great at other times.

We searched for the light, taking photos and selfies along the way. And when you take photos, you have to find that light to determine how it will best illuminate your face for the camera to focus on.

You have to find the light. And just when you think it's no where to be seen--it appears.

Because it's been there all along--sometimes you just have to turn around or step back to see it. 

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© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall