It’s the final few days before Christmas, and everything is falling into place. Presents are neatly wrapped and beautifully decorated under the tree. The Christmas ham or goose awaits the oven, and pie baking commences in the next day or two.
What? Your holiday doesn’t look Currier and Ives picture perfect? Mine either.
I suspect we are not alone.
The first Christmas
I love nativity scenes and set out several around my home during December. While each has its unique beauty, they all share the same problem.
They are neat, almost sterile, in their appearance.
The first Christmas wasn’t quite so orderly.
- Joseph and Mary weren’t in their own home. In fact, they weren’t in any home.
- Mary wasn’t near her family and friends for the birth of her first child.
- Both Joseph and Mary carried with them the harsh criticisms of those who didn’t—couldn’t—believe their story.
- Within a few months, they would be heading to Egypt, even farther away from all that they knew and understood.
What doubt and fear did Jesus’s earthly parents carry with them?
As they listened to Mary and Joseph’s tales about angels, what did their parents’ think? Or their siblings? Did it divide the family?
What about that outspoken aunt or opinionated uncle? Even if the parents leaned toward believing them, what did they all face from extended family?
What doubts did Joseph face as he walked away from what he had built for his family to journey to Bethlehem? And again when they left for Egypt?
What did Mary endure when they moved back to Nazareth as she went to draw water each day? How many forbade their children from playing with boy Jesus because of his less than ideal birth?
A picture perfect Christmas is all about perspective
I’m convinced that Joseph and Mary thrived in the plan God laid out for them because they kept a heavenly perspective.
They knew God was trustworthy, and in each new difficulty He provided all they needed.
Good sounding words, right? But the question is this: Where is your heart in all of this?
Questions to ponder
How much do you trust God?
Do you see His hand of provision in the midst of whatever hard time, difficulty, or turmoil around you?
Can you step forward in faith—even a tiny, baby step forward?
Can you admit out loud where you trust, and where you struggle to trust? Maybe even where you don’t trust at all?
Roughly 2,000 years ago, Jesus came.
- Not because your home would be beautifully decorated this Christmas.
- Not because the presents would be perfectly selected and wrapped.
- Not because the dinner would be the best you cook all year.
He came because He knew that this life is hard. That struggles would abound. That heartbreak would make us doubt.
He came to share in the difficulties, to experience them firsthand. To be laughed at and ignored. To be teased and spit upon. To wrestle with God in prayer because His strength to continue on the path before Him seemed too much.
It’s about more than a picture perfect Christmas
He came, not because He expected us to manufacture a Currier and Ives Christmas. He came because He loves us.
God sent Him because He loves us.
The Holy Spirit remains because He loves us.
So breathe in the season. Relax with your family. Grant yourself grace if the biscuits burn or you couldn’t wrap the new toy.
Remember, it’s Christmas.