Is Christmas not what you imagined this year? I just want you to know you’re not alone.
The silence on this blog has many causes… the main cause, sheer exhaustion. I’m not even sure if I’ll hit “publish” on this for fear of it not making sense.
Are your kids sick? Do they need to isolate from school contact? Someone have covid? Concerned about covid? Or annoyed with those that are?
Or facing grief? Or illness? Or circumstances that just leave you shredded?
I just want you to know you’re not alone.
My snotty story
Two rounds of cold bugs went through our house back-to-back this December. Anything and everything festive I hoped to do was cancelled, with one glorious little sleigh-ride exception. Our youngest can’t breathe through her nose and I’ve lost count of how many nights I’ve spent in the rocking chair with her.
I’ve done all the things, the fluids, the saline, the snot sucker, the vitamins, the rest. Doc says she’s good – although we’re all sick, we’re all good. It seems like what this bug needs most is perseverance.
But man. We are run down. Discouraged. Disappointed. I’ll just name those things. It’s all temporarily but it’s all reality.
Do you feel any of that this Christmas?
I wonder how Mary felt.
I wonder how Mary felt, travelling by donkey with a new husband for five days – stop for a sec. Imagine walking ANYWHERE for five days, let alone with a new human about to leave your body. Then, when she finally arrives, how did she feel when they couldn’t find a place to sleep?
Run down, maybe. Discouraged, maybe. Disappointed, maybe.
And maybe a lot of other things, too.
But you know what?
Christmas still comes.
Christmas doesn’t just come in spite of our mess, but for it.
Regardless of how we feel or don’t feel, Christmas still comes.
Christmas comes when we’re not “in the spirit”.
Whether we’ve made cookies or not.
Whether the elf moves or not.
Whether gifts are wrapped or not.
Whether we send cards or not.
Whether we see everyone we love or not.
Whether we do all the Christmas things or not.
Christmas still comes.
And Christmas is beautiful with all of the above. But if your Christmas is more simple or you are struggling through, don’t beat yourself up. You’re not so far from the first Christmas ever.
The first Christmas ever was actually different than what anyone expected.
Luke, in an effort to “write an orderly account” of the “things that have been fulfilled among us” writes;
Luke Chapter 2
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The ink of those words first wet the paper in Greek. Here we are, thousands of years after the first Christmas ever, reading them on some backlit technological device likely in the palm of our hand.
It’s not easy to feel sleep-deprived, disappointed, desperate, lost, lonely, forgotten or any of the difficult things that pepper the heart on this side of eternity. But especially at Christmas.
So if that’s you, I feel for you. Drop a comment, send me a note. You’re not a lone.
Let’s remember together:
Christmas is not beautiful because of what we do or don’t do right now, it’s beautiful because of what He already did.
He showed up anyways.