When givens are no more

Nothing is as it should be. All the givens for the season — spending concentrated time with your family, snuggling with nieces and nephews, crowding around a too small table to eat a meal — they’re all up in the air or have already been modified or eliminated.

It’s heartbreaking. Such a big part of this season is the quality time with the people you love, and it seems like that has been ripped away, exposing some truth in my life that isn’t pretty: I undervalue the miracle and gift that is Christ’s birth on this earth.

And realizing that is pretty sobering.

If I had a stronger foundation in the truth and majesty of what this season was intended to focus on, I wouldn’t be absolutely wrecked by the loss of the givens. Don’t get me wrong — I would be sad. But not wrecked.

So if you’re like me and this Christmas is shining a light on some not-so-pretty truths in your life, know you’re not alone. My prayer for all of us is that we dig deeper into Christ this season, that we find hope in the unbelievable narrative of Jesus made flesh and come to earth as a helpless baby so He could be a sacrifice on behalf of all humankind.

Lord, help us believe and trust in You, even as we mourn the loss of our givens.


“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

(Luke 2)

Maggie Evans

Maggie Evans is a regular contributor to The Rope. She also is special assistant to the editor for The Alabama Baptist/TAB Media. Maggie and her husband, Sam, are members of Iron City Church, Birmingham.

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