It’s almost Christmas. Are you ready? Will you be ready?
I’m not ready…yet.
Christmas will come about, like it always does, and I will be ready, like I always am. However, not without some chaos and confusion. Every year I determine to pace myself better, to start earlier. Yet every year, somehow, December 25th sneaks up on me and I scramble.
Does that do damage to the spirit of Advent? Shouldn’t the anticipation of Christmas be characterized by love, joy and peace?
“This is how the birth of Jesus came about…” So begins Matthew’s account of the first Christmas.
Matthew goes on to describe an unwed pregnancy – surely a trauma for all involved – followed by a dreamy angelic message to Joseph that the baby is by the Holy Spirit and that he should go ahead with the marriage. The angel also instructed Joseph to name the baby Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (v. 21)
I suspect that Joseph felt more confusion and anxiety than joy and peace.
The words and attitudes most associated with the Christmas season (besides Jesus) are love, gifts, peace, joy, light and hope, and rightly so. Jesus is the source of it all. He is God’s greatest give to us, and so we gift each other in love. Jesus is the light of the world, and so we light up our trees and our houses. Jesus is our peace, and so the world is a little less contentious at Christmas time.
But, the birth of Jesus came about in the context of complicated relationships, stress and difficult circumstances. The first Christmas was likely not all that peaceful.
So, if your Christmas preparations get a little stressful…
If your visions of idyllic Christmas moments are not quite realized..
If messy family dynamics mar the Christmas mood…
Maybe, just maybe…
you are having an authentic Advent experience.
Our desires for real peace, genuine and lasting joy, and perfect love are legitimate, and they are satisfied only in Jesus, so it is natural to emphasize those longings as we celebrate his birth. Jesus left perfection and power in heaven to enter this far from perfect world. He saved us by living a surrendered life among us and dying a sacrificial death for our sins. It was stressful, messy and complicated. He did it because he loves you.
This Advent season invite Jesus into your stress, your mess, and your complicated circumstances.
He will meet you there. That is the beautiful truth that we celebrate at Christmas.
How does Christmas come about in your house?
So love your insights, Judy! Reading your blog is always a great experience for me…I really enjoy reading your articles. At Christmastime everything can get too hectic and confusing and sometimes I think we all forget sometimes the “true” meaning of Christmas. This post, reminded me in such a simple honest way. Thanks, I needed that! Wishing you and Dan and your family a very blessed Christmas…
I so appreciate your perspective, as we are experiencing a very authentic season right now. 😉 Our tree may or may not make it up this weekend… If not, next weekend when we are at last off for Christmas break! Blessings to you and your loved ones as you enjoy all that He provides during this most wonderful season of all.
Hi Shannon – May your weekend be joyful, tree or no tree!
I LOVE THIS–every word, Judy. Thanks for giving us the authentic view, as we (at least I do) think that back in the day, folks heard God–and had no question it was Him, therefore jumped on board with excitement, or perfect peace. Maybe seeing the angel, His messenger, helped a lot–and maybe folks trusted their dreams about Him more then. But just as today, there were folks around who were not Believers–and surely they would have added to the stress of that young couple. My non-believing friends are quiet in their skepticism, when I tell them the Lord spoke to me about something–and it’s never so momentous as what He was telling our Nativity Family. Much love to you and your family this Christmas, may God bless the New Year with His abundant favor–sis Caddo
Hello Caddo! It is easy to read the Bible, in which days, months or years of time are reduced to a sentence or two, and imagine that everything was obvious. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. Can you imagine being Joseph during Mary’s pregnancy? I’m sure he had doubts. “Did I really hear that right?” Yet, the other part of this scenario that encourages me is that when God needs to be clearly understood, He is more than capable of making that happen. Thanks, as always, for your thoughts, and I wish you a wonderful and worshipful Christmas season. Judy
I’ve always thought Joseph was a man of strong character, very mature–bless his heart that he didn’t question, apparently, just followed His God. Now that’s a testimony, and example!
Me too, Caddo. Joseph must have been an amazing guy. I’m sure it was no accident that God chose him to be Jesus’s human father.
You’re so right. It just warms my heart that God knows who to select for what assignment/position.
I so enjoy your insights, Judy. Merry Christmas!
Thanks Peter, and a very Merry Christmas back to you!