She chose Praise -

"I wonder if sometimes, Mary didn’t feel very favored at all as she carried Hope Himself inside of her.
 I wonder if sometimes, she just felt exhausted and sliced open—overwhelmed by the raw, 
suffocating heartache ever-before her. And still, she chose praise as her response.
To be favored and treasured and chosen by God Himself doesn’t mean an absence of pain. 
For Mary, it meant infinitely more of it—at least for the duration of her life on earth. 
But goodness, would any of us doubt for a minute that Mary was precious to God? 
Would we question for a second his fierce love for her, His unwavering commitment to her, His presence with her?
Advent is the question, the pleading, the desperate are-you-really-coming? It’s the lonely how long,
 the grieving and yearning and hoping for what we can’t yet see. Christmas, then, is the answer to our longing, 
the promise that in the midst of unspeakable pain, there is Hope and He’s come to rescue us. 
It’s the reminder that just as it was with Mary, our own dreams for our lives are anemic and pale incomparison to the story that God is writing. 

And while the temporary pain of what God is working behind the scenes might pierce us through to bone and marrow, 
Emmanuel—God WITH us—reminds us that in the midst of wrenching pain, we are not alone. 
The heartache of Mary’s life was true and real—but God’s declaration over her was truer, deeper, more 
real than anything that she could see. His love for her was more relentless, His plan to deliver her more 
unyielding. What I love about Christmas is that it does not pretend pain away—it points our pain to the 
greater story at work, and reminds us that Hope has come. A weary world rejoices, indeed." 
- Ashley Dickens

Full post here

I've read it five times and had tears in my eyes every single time. 
Merry Christmas, weary world. God is with us. 

- JM -