“Christmas is messy.”
That was the main theme of our Pastor’s Christmas Eve message. And boy, was he ever right.
I am cleaning up the mess today, putting away decorations, picking up shreds of left behind wrapping paper and ribbon, and tossing empty boxes outside in the trash. And thinking, like I do every year, “All that stress, all that rushing, all the anticipation, all the excitement, and just like that, it’s over.” And as a mom, I have to admit, I am relieved. I am ready for normal routines, normal food, a normal amount of stress, and normal kids. Because, I don’t know about yours, but my kids are INSANE during Christmas. Some toxic combination of sugar, lack of sleep, and stir-craziness. But the thing is, I know that even in our “normal” state, we are still a mess.
On Christmas Eve, after I read the Christmas Story out of our Jesus Storybook Bible, the best children’s Bible ever, in my opinion… you can get it here:
Gracie wanted to go back and read about “the snake” and Adam and Eve. Christmas Eve, Adam and Eve, ok, sure. So I turned back to the story of how sin came into the world. And how it broke God’s heart. And how he promised to somehow make it right again, not because we deserved it, but just because he loved us so much. And then I thought about that Baby, sent into this scary, messy world to make it right again, to make us right again, and I thought about how many generations God’s people waited for Him, and then how they didn’t even recognize him when he got here. The only ones who recognized him were some smelly shepherds and some astrologers (more commonly known as the “Wise Men”, but that is likely what they were…) and of course, Mary and Joseph. And it occurred to me how little has changed.
Because in the middle of my mess, I call out for help… for rescue… And I wait. I watch and I wait for the miracle. And I think that for whatever reason, God isn’t concerned or interested enough to intervene. So I stop asking, I stop waiting, and I stop watching.
What Christmas should teach us is this: Sometimes the mess is the miracle.
And sometimes I miss it.
The truth is, that life here is just gonna be messy. Eve sealed the deal for that in Eden, and it has been messy ever since. And every mom knows, when one mess gets relatively cleaned up, another is waiting to take its place. Some I make myself, some others make for me to clean up, and some just happen and its nobody’s fault. But what if, instead of looking for a way out of the mess, we embrace it and look instead for the miracle in the mess? What if we willingly submit ourselves to whatever it is God can teach us in the middle of it? What if we choose to search for the good things He is doing right there? Because there is always good. Because HE is always good…
What Christmas should teach us is that He isn’t afraid to get in the middle of our mess. He kind of likes to work that way. It is his specialty. And that is why we don’t have to wait until we get everything cleaned up to invite him in. I think, no, I KNOW he has a soft spot for messy people. I know because I am one, and it didn’t stop Him from entering into my messy life and making something miraculous out of it. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, look back through your bible and see who he liked to hang out with. They were a messy bunch. Kind of like us.
Invite him into your mess… And you will find your miracle.
It probably won’t look like what you thought it would… It might be as surprising as a baby king in a feeding trough.
It might even be that the mess itself delivers the redemption you are longing for.