Merry Messy Christmas!
For the last four weeks our family coached a small group through Advent. We read Scripture and prayed regularly. We also ate a common meal each Sunday night. What have we learned now that it is Christmas? Christmas is for the messy.
Living closer to one another, we observed… tired moms and dads, those struggling with illness and recent deaths, and others dealing with relationship challenges of various kinds. More than once, someone shared their frustration with me, “Tim, I’m really blowing it this week.”
I could sense their disappoint with themselves although I never asked or expected anything more.
Think about it, that precious little baby Jesus… was viewed as the unplanned pregnancy of an unwed couple. That blessed mother Mary… was probably a frightened 12 or 13 year-old. Joseph was likely in his teen years also.
Jesus was born at tax-time. If you think your tax-time stinks, imagine traveling several days to pay tax rates decided by unjust roman overlords!
Just imagine this troubled teenage couple, traveling alone, finding only a place to stay in the equivalent of a stranger’s garage. That’s right, people mostly kept their animals in the house with them, but on a lower floor where they could sweep the pee and poo. This explains why the “holy family” would have been put with animals after there was no more room on the upper floor.
Their family backgrounds were messed up too. One Gospel records prostitutes, adulterers and down right creeps in their family tree!
So, Advent is a season of waiting and we have waited patiently. We have prepared ourselves and then—Jesus shows up in the mess of our lives. He steps into my work challenges, my marital struggles, he walks past my fighting children, he sits down in the pee and poo of my life and he says, “I bring hope here in this place,” and “this is what God among you means (literally, Emmanuel).”
If you feel like you are not ready… like your life and home are not cleaned up for him… You are wrong. This is exactly the way he comes. He comes with the innocent whimper of a child. A child that invades us with their presence. Let’s make room for him, even in the mess… especially among our mess!