I entered the season with so many expectations, ideas and plans. I was going to have a Christmas craft party! I was going to DIY like all my gifts. We would light an advent candle and have a Christmas devotion every night! We would go on romantic, Christmas dates. It would be so festive!

And yet, here I am, feeling like my expectations fell through and I am not prepared for the holiday. Rather, I am exhausted, messy and emotional. Not what I expected or wanted this season to be, at all.

Yet, I know that God never wanted the season to be about the perfect or expected. Two-thousand-plus years ago when the Messiah was expected, people thought He was going to come in a storm of glory-- as a warrior, a King robed and ready to take over Rome's rule.

Instead, His coming was seemingly imperfect. He was born to a young mother, in a barn. And she likely did not feel prepared. She probably felt exhausted, messy and emotional.

And Jesus was not the expected either. He was strong, but humble and his leadership was not the take-over-Rome kind. He came as a baby in a dank stable -- not as a warrior storming the palace. This, however, was God's perfectly orchestrated plan.

So why do I, 2,000 years later, want to put Christmas lights all over the stable, and sweep away the hay, ignoring the messiness of the first Christmas?

It's ok-- or I would argue-- it's good to be a little messy this season, to feel a bit like a wreck because God entered that wreck and embraced it. He came for all and for all circumstances, not just the picture-perfect Christmas.

If you're grieving someone -- missing someone who should be around the tree with you, or feeling disillusioned or lost, this season is for you. It is not for the perfect, put-together event-- although we can enjoy those as they happen-- it is for real life, the gritty, born-in-a-barn-type bits and unexpected parts.

Merry Christmas, friends.

xo, erika


  1. I agree with you! It's my first Christmas away from my family, and it just doesn't feel like Christmas at all. It DOES feel so messy and emotional here. We'll get through it though and it will be wonderful!


  2. What a beautiful post! I too have felt emotional and unproductive this holiday season and had big goals, as "newlywed's first Christmas." Thanks for bringing it back to Jesus!

  3. I so agree. This is my first Christmas without any family around, aside from Izzy and our dogs. But still, I know I have many things to be thankful for so I'll enjoy this day and the loved ones I am surrounded by.

  4. I often find that meeting others' expectations of what a celebration, holiday, or event should be is a stressful waste of my time. Much better to simply BE in the moment, and enjoy it- messiness and all!

  5. this is a lovely, comforting post. thank you.

  6. I think this is the most honest, beautiful statement on Christmas that I have ever read. THANK YOU. I will be carrying this with me in the years to come.

  7. Such truth, friend! I appreciate your honesty and was right there with you in so many ways...trying to DIY Christmas gifts and plans for reading advent devos daily. But when I look back on the month of December, it was a full but sweet time all around!


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