Christmas Eve is only a few days away and people are hurriedly finalizing plans, finishing shopping and making sure they have all the ingredients for their meticulously planned Christmas feasts. I know that I very much look forward to settling in for my long winter's nap on Christmas Eve when everything is finally done. Except that the first Christmas and the reason for all of our celebration was not the end of anything; it was the beginning.
Perhaps we see Christmas morning as the finish to a marathon season because it's at the end of our calendar year. We see Christmas as a culmination of wish lists and wants and dreams come true. But Mary's Christmas Eve was one filled with uncertainty, mystery, pain, and agony. None of the nativities on our mantels convey the sounds of her cries into the night as she birthed our Savior. Mary's first Christmas Eve marked the beginning of a life of pain and suffering for herself and her Son. She would question His sanity, she would lose Him to God more than once, and she would witness His suffering for the world's sins. Christmas Eve might have been a temporary end to Mary and Joseph's running but they wouldn't rest for long. Their journey would continue so as to preserve the life of their baby because the government sought to end His life.
Christmas Eve might feel like the end of a bunch of running but it's also the beginning - it might be the beginning of your faith in Christ or a beginning of a time of renewal in your spirit. Like Mary's intense birth pains, you might be wrestling in the night with God. The wrestling and pain should mark the beginning of relationship and not the end.
So if Christmas Eve isn't the end, do we say Easter is the end? One might assume the Resurrection would mark a beautiful ending to Christ's life, ministry, and suffering. No, it's not the end either. The end comes when He comes again and brings with Him a new Heaven and new Earth - a new beginning. What we live in now is the middle. We're in the middle and we're waiting. So as you lay your head down in a few nights and anxiously await the celebration of His birth, ask Him to meet you here in the middle. Wrestle with Him and then walk with Him toward a new beginning.