Christmas Edition of

The Clean & Cozy Home Journal

A “Mary” Christmas… 

Before I write more… I want to point out that I didn’t misspell the above greetingJ.  

This Christmas… I want to give you something to consider and reflect on as you are making memories with your husband, children, family, friends, and any one who crosses your path.  

Mary --- the precious mother of Jesus --- didn’t celebrate Christmas as we do. Some might say she didn’t celebrate Christmas at all but she lived Christmas and the reason for it was more real for her than any of us can begin to imagine.  

The night this lovely lady went through labor and delivered a precious Son was one she would always remember. Any one of us who has ever held a newborn child ---from our own body or by the blessing of another woman --- knows this feeling. This knowledge that her life is changed forever the instant ---that very precise moment --- when her baby makes his/her way into the world.

Mary had even more to consider because her Son was the Son of her God. This Son was born a Savior. A King. A Lord.

        Can we imagine the depth of the scene? Can we possibly press our minds --- our hearts within --- deeply enough to capture even a tiny glimpse of this mother and her newborn child? Are we able to picture the earthly father’s part and the exact thoughts of GOD HIMSELF the moment Jesus Christ entered this world? It is almost too much… it IS too much!

       Mary held her newborn Son close to her heart and gazed upon His perfect face. She felt His warm breath against her cheek. She must have let His tiny fingers wrap around her finger as she held the dear little hand inside her own.

Tears form just with the picture of it all!

       We can only marvel at her thoughts as she tenderly drew Him to her breast and nourished Him. We can only dream about how it was for this young, loving mother in her caring for the tiny bundle --- truly sent from Heaven’s splendor to her arms.

          We can only wonder at her thoughts as she cared for this tiny One. Even though she knew that He was everything the angel told her He was… she didn’t know the extent of how His life would be. As she touched the soft hair on his head she didn’t know there would be thorns shoved into the softness she was caressing. As he grew and she washed His toddler hands and fingers… she didn’t know that one day they would have nails driven through them. As she helped him put on His little clothes she didn’t know that one day people would take his clothes away and sell them as He suffered.

       We can only guess at how she mothered Him as he grew from an infant to a toddler and on to a little boy. We can imagine her calling Him in to eat and drink not realizing that one day there would be a supper to represent His broken body. Mary was with Jesus each year from His birth and through His childhood… the birthdays came each year just as Christmas does now and we have to wonder if she ever thought His birthday would be what it is? And what is it? How many times during this holiday do we proclaim that we know the “reason for the season”… just to get as caught up as the next one in the many activities until the birthday we are supposed to be celebrating and honoring is in the background of everything else?

       May we think that through the teenage years of Jesus that his mother ever felt inadequate? Did she ever worry that she hadn’t taught enough, held enough, or loved enough? Did she ever look at her growing Son and reflect on how time seemed to take Him so quickly from a place on her lap to the tall half grown man sleeping as she looked on? Did she ever long for one more day to hold Him closer to her heart?          We know that when He was 12 and stayed behind at the temple and it took five days to find Him (one day’s traveling before they noticed Him gone… one day to travel back… and three once they returned there) that His mother said to Him: “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” (Luke 2:48 NASB). Joseph and Mary didn’t understand His answer of having to be in His Father’s house. He did go back with them and remained under their authority and His mother was “treasuring these things in her heart”.

     Mary watched Jesus do things that no other boys His age were doing but she also watched Him through being a real kid and a real teen… a real Son. She was there when He performed His first miracle… what complete pride she must have felt for Him! What  a difference her life must have been for her when He left home to go do the work of God. How she must have missed His smile… his funny ways of making her laugh… His very perfect presence in her life.

       This Son grew into a great man and a busy One. A mother had given the years since His birth to caring for Him and she could only hope and pray she followed God so that her job was enough.

       If we were to put ourselves in the shoes of Mary… could we have handled it with such grace? Could we have withstood watching our child ---our dear and beloved child --- experience the things Mary saw her Son go through? Jesus was not her only Child. She had other sons and daughters and she had to take care of them.

She took them with her to go see Jesus when He had been out preaching, healing, and giving instructions to His disciples. Did she understand when He kept on preaching and shared the truth to those listening about anyone who listened to His Father being His mother and His brothers? Maybe she did at first and maybe she didn’t but we can trust that if she didn’t right away… it came to her at some point. She had to consider those emotions and deal with them. What would we have done in the exact same circumstances?  

     We have to wonder how it felt to Joseph and Mary when they found out the town they had lived in and raised Jesus in had thrown Him out! They knew the family well enough to ask --- when Jesus had spoken in the synagogue --- “is this not Joseph’s Son?” (Luke 4:22 NASB). How that could have hurt these parents… to hear that the very people they had known and lived around for all the years had thrown their own Son OUT from where He had been raised! It didn’t stop Mary’s Son… it didn’t stop the Son of God. He kept on doing the will of His Father.

      Mary was there. Mary was there at the cross when her Son --- her beloved Son --- was nailed. He saw her and He saw His beloved disciple. He gave His mother to be John’s mother and John to be her son. He didn’t say more to them by what I have read of this story. He went on to say He was thirsty and that “it is finished” before bowing His head and giving up His Spirit.  

     Oh, Mary. What thoughts ran through your mind? Did you see the infant swaddled in your arms so soon after birth with hair so soft and eyes so dear? Did you remember the baby face… the warm breath from his sweet sleeping sighs on your face? Were you remembering His tiny fingers clasped around your one or the feel of His tiny hand held closely inside of yours? Did you go back in time to wiping clean His upturned face…. His learning how to dress Himself… His running fast in play? Did you play through your mind His every smile… His every word said to you… His every expression?

       Oh, Mary, did you cry? Did you cry ---not because He followed God as you always knew He would --- but because you missed Him desperately? Did you trace back in your memory every single moment you had with Him from His life changing birth?

       Sweet Mary, did you know? Did you know that years and years later people would be celebrating the birth of that Son with Christmas? If you saw the festive time in December… would it mean as much as the birthdays you beheld? Would you shed a tear every time you saw an “X” in place of Christ in Christmas and every time a home was filled with Santas and snowmen but no baby Jesus?

       May we change the “Merry” into “Mary” and remember her role in the life of Jesus during this Christmas. May we think of Him at the time of His birth and the difference it made in the world the very moment He was born. That day a Savior was born… a King arrived… a LORD rested warmly in the arms of His mother. Let us think on this when we celebrate His birthday. 

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 Christmas in Christ 

  • When you are holding that newborn baby… savor the warm breath, the soft skin, and the curled up fingers and think about Mary doing the same with baby Jesus. When you are wiping the upturned face of that little one you call your own… picture Jesus looking up to Mary. While you are brushing hair of your growing girl… remember the soft hair Jesus had and how the thorns cut into the precious head of Jesus. If your teenager is doing or saying things you don’t understand… remember that even Jesus had parents that didn’t understand everythingJ. Know that anyone with a child 33 or under can take anything they do with that child/those children and wonder at Mary doing the same with Jesus.
  • Make sure that somewhere amidst all your reindeer decorations, bows, gifts, and lights there is a baby Jesus to look upon.
  • With your husband, watch your children of any and all ages sleeping  and wonder if Mary and Joseph ever did the same.
  • Read in your Bible about the birth and life of Jesus. Journal your thoughts. Meditate on the entire story with every free moment.
  • Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind.

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Candy Cane Cocoa 

Make this homemade hot cocoa for your family and gifts. Include a hand written or printed meaning of the candy cane (something like: white for the purity of Jesus, red for the blood He shed, and the shape of the cane being a Shepherd’s stick).

 Peppermint Powder (I make this using one HUGE stick of peppermint now but for years I bought the individual candy canes or discs). Place candy canes/discs into a gallon sized Ziploc bag and place that into another Ziploc bag. Use a sledgehammer, hammer, meat tenderizer, or something and smash the peppermint until it is to the desired texture. I make sure to have a very fine powder as well as some visible crushed up/broken pieces.

Hot Cocoa Mix
Creamer
Powdered Sugar
Powdered Milk
Cocoa
Dried Peppermint like you find in the stores. This one is optionalJ.

I don’t have exact amounts because I’ve made it so many years that I just mix until it is how we like it. You only want a small amount of hot cocoa mix. Use a lot of cocoa and half of that in equal amounts of the creamer, milk, and sugar.

I swirl my powdered sugar, creamer, and powdered milk in a food processor with the dried mint. DO NOT PUT PEPPERMINT in a food processor, blender or anything else. You might quickly lose even the best appliances this way. Mix everything up and have the family taste test and add ingredients until it taste how you desire it. I always stir my peppermint powder in LAST. This must stay covered in an air tight container to avoid hardening or the peppermint collecting moisture.

I put a couple of heaping scoops per cup but you might want to adjust this to fit your tastes.

For gifts: I like tying red and white bows around the neck with two candy canes tied into the middle of the bows.

Quick labels can be made using address labels for the computer on just about any program where you can make basic address labels.  

Have a WONDERFUL week… 

Love & “Mary” Christmas! SandyJ

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