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I decorate for Christmas a little earlier every year for several reasons. One, my birthday falls in early December, and very little makes me happier than having a decked-out home for the holidays for my special day (and of course, Jesus’ special day). Two, I have a lot of Christmas items, and it takes a very long time to drag them out, dust them off, and put them up. Why go to all that trouble for only three weeks when society says it’s politically correct to decorate now? Lastly, I love to pour festive features across my home to honor and fully enjoy my absolute favorite time of yearChristmas.

People are nicer. There is a childhood wonder and all-encompassing magic that permeates the air. I am always in desperate need of peace, so it makes perfect sense that I crave the time of year literally known for peace and goodwill.

I have a small crystal nativity scene my Grandma Wadlow gave me one year. It is simple and see-through, and it means the world to me. I look forward to setting it out every year and finding a way to accentuate it as I did with these adorable blue tea lights I found on sale at Amazon.

I could sit and stare at this scene for hours. I doubt very much the real nativity was as perfect and serene as the modern-day versions we have created. But I like to think there was perhaps one moment of sheer peace and serenity. Maybe that moment was best captured by the verse, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

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Is there any Christmas more meaningful than that of a newborn baby? A mother’s love is simply the epitome of contentment. I recall when my firstborn summer baby was nearly six months old, and we celebrated his first Christmas. Holding that long-awaited, much-prayed-for baby in my arms filled me with a joy I had waited my whole life to experience. And just two years later, I had a fresh, late-autumn baby boy to swaddle and cuddle while gently rocking him with the glorious glow of the Christmas tree lulling us both into a deep winter’s sleep.

Did I realize when my sons were that age how superbly special that time was? Or was I too weary from the routine of the day to fully appreciate those tender and fleeting moments?

Did Mary realize the significance of her firstborn son? Did she really truly understand that she was the vessel God chose to bring forth His own beloved child into this dark, depraved world? She likely had an inkling; after all, it is not everyone who gets visited by an angel and told they would supernaturally conceive the very Savior of the world!

Still, I like to imagine Mary just a little bit oblivious to the significance of this child. Just enough to get lost in that new baby scent. Those deep soulful eyes. That soft head of baby fine hair. He was her first baby, after all. Surely she could not stop staring into his perfectly precious little face. Learning each unique cry and babble. Wondering if tonight would be the magical night her son would finally sleep long enough for her to reach that elusive new-mom REM sleep.

I know she knew. But I also think, and mommas, tell me if I am wrong, that there is such a precious bond already formed between a mother and her newborn baby that the two are sort of caught up in their own little world for the first few weeks. There is an imaginary hedge of separation from one body to two and a feeling of connection that shuts the world out and brings into sharp focus the pure miracle and intense bonding between mother and child after a glorious new birth.

I could not have been more proud, enamored, and absolutely astounded by the two baby boys I am blessed to call sons. When each boy entered this world, my own world took on a whole new meaning.

RELATED: May We Be Mothers Like Mary

And Mary. Sweet, blessed, chosen, favored Mary. I truly cannot get my head around the fact that her new baby bliss was exponentially compounded by the fact that her firstborn, a son, was in fact God’s very own in the flesh. It is just too amazing to comprehend.

Every mother reminisces about those first few weeks with her precious new baby. It is a magical, inconceivably beautiful time. Perhaps that is why I love losing myself in the nativity scene. Trying to picture me as Mary. Against all odds. In an unbelieving world. Knowing deep inside the gravity of importance resting on her newborn son’s tiny shoulders.

Yet . . . Simply wrapping her arms just a little bit tighter against his tiny human form. Losing herself in the deep well of love that every new baby elicits. Mary knew, eventually, this child would outgrow her mere mothering for a much greater call upon his life. But for that night, in the stable, surrounded by animals and a husband she barely knew, Mary was a first-time mother to a beautiful baby boy. And that, as simple, natural, and everyday-occurring as it is, will never cease to hold the significance of a miracle to every woman with a tender mother’s heart.

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So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Manndi Maphies Wilkins

I am a boy momma of two, who works at a School of Pharmacy and enjoys freelance writing on the side. I enjoy sharing my daily adventures as a (former) single mom with anyone who will read them. Life is full of ups…and downs…and then more ups. The joy is in the journey and if others find my journey humorous, relatable, and inspiring, I will never quit sharing it! So happy to connect with such an inspiring group of writers!

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