Merry Christmas! 

I love Christmas—it really is the most wonderful time of the year. I love the nostalgia Christmas brings and I love the traditions. I love the time I get to spend with my family, and I appreciate that time even more since I have two of my five kids away in college. I love blasting Christmas music in my home and in my car, and I love that my house has red and green everywhere.

But beyond all of the trees and bells and ugly sweaters and Santas, I adore what Christmas really means and I am always struck by what Christmas meant to Mary. When I am sitting quietly in my house after the kids have gone to bed, I think about Mary and everything Christmas meant to her and all of the treasures she held in her heart as she held the God of the universe as a helpless infant in her arms—as she got to love and adore and care for and meet the needs of her firstborn son who also happened to be Emmanuel. That thought warms me and humbles me and I really love just sitting with it.

I saw this picture on social media earlier this month and it was so poignant. I love Mary the new mother nuzzling her cooing baby and I love seeing the broken-hearted mourning of Mary the mother who was agonizing over the loss of her son. What a great reminder of what Christmas really is. Like the song says, I wonder if she saw ahead to all that her Son would be for the world and all that would happen to Him or if she just sat there, in that first moment, adoring her child as most new mothers do.  She got to cradle the King of Kings in her arms and in those first few months throughout her pregnancy and with her newborn son, she had a one of a kind deep and genuine love and relationship with Jesus that only she got to experience She held the Great I Am.

I hope you get time in the chaos of what Christmas has become to get to hold the Great I Am in your heart today during a quiet moment all by yourself and I hope you get to hold him just as this picture depicts.  Merry Christmas.

Jamie Jo Braner, Director of Alumni Engagement