MERRY EVE of CHRISTMAS EVE, everyone!!!
We published this a few years ago, and it’s still one of our very favorites to reflect on, especially at this time of year. It just felt appropriate to share again. Our greatest hope for you is that you know you’re very loved and that you have an amazing holiday-embracing the chaotic, the peaceful, the good and the bad, the wonderful times, and the difficult. The imperfect, and the absolutely magical. We’re thinking of you!
Hugs and LOVE and a Very Merry Holiday Season!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately. About the expectations that come with Christmas.
There can be a lot of pressure with the holidays.
As a human race, with the culture we’re in… there’s a lot of striving for things. The perfect decor. The perfect recipe. The perfect gift. The perfect experience. The perfect day. The perfect life.
We’re practically drowning in expectations.
We strive for happiness. We yearn for it.
I think we’re sold a lie that in achieving a certain thing, we will be happy. And then when that thing is achieved, another something will keep us happy. And therein lies the striving for our ideals and perfection. Whether or not we intend to, there’s that looming pressure… every year. To live up to those expectations.
Right now, our hearts are heavy.
For those who are feeling a little short-changed this Christmas. For those who are wrestling with life.
For those without a home. For those with broken families. For those who have lost a loved one. For those who feel alone. For those who are faced with a difficult season and their own struggles.
Through the glitter and the lights and the wrapping paper. Through the glossy mirages of our own expectations, we are a weary people.
The holiday in itself, for some… the gathering and the expectations and the exhaustion… it can feel a bit like a bird with a broken wing. A constant reminder of whatever burden we’re carrying.
And if there’s a burden, we’re not really sure what to do with it all.
I think the ideal of happiness… the pressure that comes with this ‘perfect’ day… it’s funny, really.
The first Christmas, by our modern-day standards… was probably the most imperfect event there ever was.
For starters, there was the whole almost-broken-marriage-arrangement thing. Followed by an exhausting journey where a very pregnant Mary rode a very long distance. People practically slammed doors in their faces. And can you really imagine giving birth in a manger? Do you know how smelly livestock can be? Do you know how itchy hay is?
I’m sure this isn’t how she planned for the birth of her first born.
The birth… I think it would fall terribly short of our modern-day sanitary expectations. We tend to see this picturesque arrangement where Mary is practically glowing… bathed in moonlight, and it’s peaceful in some soft hay. Cue the doting lambs and a nice looking Bessie-the-cow, stage right.
Maybe it was, at some point. But after she endured the pains of childbirth right beside livestock. After they cleared out a little space right beside some manure so she could actually go through the process of labor and delivery. I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say, it wasn’t the best experience ever.
But that’s the beauty of it all: This seemingly imperfect, most humble scene. The part where the Savior arrived in this quiet, dirty corner of the world.
In a manger of all places.
He came, not with grand entries filled with perfection and huge expectations. Not with flashy commercialism and glitter and lights. Not painlessly.
But amongst the lowliest of animals. In the smells of manure paired with sniffing and grunting and munching and moo-ing of His stall-mates.
Under one bright star.
A helpless baby to a regular family.
And he came to change the course of humanity.
So in the middle of us, checking our lists twice and dealing with the hustle and bustle of everything around us… of the stress and the exhaustion and the striving for perfection and even in the middle of the really great moments this holiday season…
In the middle of split families and loss, illnesses and depression, heartbreak and disappointments… in the middle of joy and happiness and bright smiles and happy laughter,
Know that He came to heal that broken bird with it’s broken wing – Whatever that broken part for you, may be.
That is HIS Christmas to us. That’s the ultimate, simple beauty of it all.
Christmas isn’t always a wonderful time of year for everyone. It isn’t always a perfect day.
The very first Christmas fell incredibly short of perfection. And in its own way, it was still the most beautiful moment.
Know that there’s more, and that’s why our hearts ultimately yearn for it.
Beyond the twinkling bokeh and paper with strings, we hope that you find a little bit of that simple beauty. You know about His love. And know that our hearts are with you this Christmas.
The weary world rejoices.