Messy and Christmas don’t seem to go together. Adults don’t have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. Oh no! Our visions are much, much loftier (and harder to attain): sparkling well-decorated homes; the yummiest of menus and treats; the perfect stack of brighly wrapped presents; peaceful, happy family moments. We want it all: all the goodness of life wrapped up with a big bow.
But sometimes life is messy. And painful. And it is no respecter of the calendar. Life has lots of ways to land you smack dab in the middle of messy when it is Christmastime. It is hard to accept when the timing is so off. So not picture perfect.
It is frustrating when you realize that no matter how hard you fight it, there is no way to get all the mess of life cleaned up in time for Christmas.
That is how this Christmas feels for me. There is lots to share about the past few months, but I will save it for the new year. Instead, I want to tell you what is at the top of my heart right now. Today. Because maybe some of you need a little Christmas courage as you face messiness of your own.
I bring you good news of great joy! Christmas and messy go together.
Ahhhh…take a slow, long deep breath. Isn’t that good news! What a welcome oxymoron, the best of contrasts: Christmas & Messy.
This morning, a friend encouraged me to think about Mary. It was clear to Mary that she had been chosen by God for something special and amazing. Maybe she developed some expectations of what that would look like. I am pretty confident her expectations did not include a donkey ride to Bethlehem or giving birth in a stable.
It actually looks like God was a little off on the timing of Christ’s birth. A census? And what about the stable? It seems that God was unprepared for Christ’s arrival. Couldn’t there have at least been a room in the inn? Did Mary or Joseph wonder why it was all playing out the way it did?
The first Christmas was messy. Honestly, on a scale of 1 to 10 it was about as messy and unorganized as it could have been. Really, think about it.
But, the truth is that in all that messy there was God’s perfect, purposeful plan being slowly revealed…entering in the most humble of ways so that all of us can be messy and not be scared or feel the need to hide or compensate or fake it. He actually made Jesus more accessible to all of humanity through this simple entry into our world.
And, there in that stable surrounded by smelly animals and manure and earthy sounds and all that is messy, Mary embraced the one thing that mattered: Jesus.
Oh, how peace settles over my messiness as I think about all of that. In the midst of messy I can treasure Christ. I can embrace the gift He gives me of knowing God as my Father and being known and loved by Him. He just wants me to let Him enter into my messiness.
He says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:38-20 (the Message version)
So if you are having a messy Christmas, know that I know what that feels like. But I am just a voice on a blog, God sees all your mess and wants to get right down in the midst of it with you. Just talk to Him…
As the Lord gently helps me see that my messy and Christmas go together, something amazing is happening in my heart. The hope I have in Jesus Christ and the peace He brings into my messy life is all I really need or want this Christmas.
He is our gift. He is enough. May our hearts be open to receive Him. “and to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
Merry Christmas friends!
PS And if this resonates, you might want to check out Jen Hatmaker’s blog: Sabotaging Big Days