By Sammie Gallo, Creator of Abundant Life: You Were Made for More
This year, at the start of Advent, I snuggled my 2-year-old little girl, Ofelia, and walked through the Christmas story in a book with an abundance of pictures of sweet baby Jesus and his mama, Mary. It hit me afresh all over again – the sweet sacrifice is why Christmas is worth teaching about.
Jesus’ birth is celebrated with songs about the ‘baby boy’ and ‘son of God’, both of which he was and is; but the gift of Jesus is not complete without suffering. The Christmas story is indeed ‘joy to the world’, but it is also a story of great sorrow and sacrifice: Mary, whose character was slandered; Joseph, who married an adulterous woman in the eyes of his friends and family; the shepherds, poor and freezing in the winter cold; the wise men, chased and wanted by a wicked king; and Jesus himself, ultimately, born to die.
The sacred story is easy to repeat when we focus on the glory of it, but we often forget this glory was hard fought for by the people involved. Their whole lives were a testimony to the Christmas story; they lived the sorrow for us to know the joy.
While I truly believe Christmas is a time for great joy as we reflect on the hope that Christ brought us upon His entry into our world, I also believe we will never fully understand the joy until we know the sacrifice. Christmas was and is a season of sacrifice: the sacred kind.
As I teach my own daughter about the Gospel, I’ve reflected on that so many times. As much as I teach about the sacredness of the Gospel, may I also teach about the sacrifice that makes it so sacred. Covenant relationships always have a cost.
The truth is, Jesus paved the way. He gave his all in order to have a perfect relationship with us; he set the example for the self-sacrifice of a perfect union. He did not do this so we can remain as a church of quitters; he did this to show us what true love is. True love perseveres to the utmost. True love knows that trial is a test, not an obstacle to happiness. True love will persevere regardless of the hardship because if it doesn’t – it is not true love.
The gift of Christmas is in the Cross, and each day we crucify ourselves for the sake of others (our spouses, our families, our children, the people we serve) – we bring Christmas alive every day of the year. May Jesus’ birth and His life be an example to us all year round.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:6 NIV
Sammie graduated from Robert Morris University in 2017 with a background in biology and psychology and started working with Anglicans for Life (AFL) shortly after. In addition to her work with AFL, she spends time pouring into high school students in her community and is currently finishing her BSN from Waynesburg University and will start work as an ER nurse in January 2023.
Sammie married her best friend, Juan Gallo, in May 2019. During her free time, she cares for their sweet daughter, Ofelia, who joined their family in August 2020.
Sammie spends her day-to-day making sure that every person hears and believes the words: “you were made for more.” You can follow Sammie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! She’d love to get to know you!