art via calebfaires.com
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.