Friday, January 20, 2012

When Christmas Comes Up Short

As usual Christmas lingered for quite a while in our home, but we finally took down our decorations tonight. As I nestled the wreath ornaments back into their prescribed homes, I was reminded that this Christmas was far from perfect. Still full of light-filled beauty and the comfort of home and those that make it, yet scattered with mistakes, slips of the hand and tongue, not without a little brokenness.

I didn't have the Christmas I should've had. All the makings were there: my brother with his new bride, my adorable niece now old enough to participate, Nate and I looking for a little redemption for our first Christmas. But it didn't happen. The should-bes, the wishes, the I-don't-understand-why-nots piled up, the pressure grew and it broke.

The shards fell, cut deep. Slivers caught just when I thought it was clean. Christmas isn't supposed to hurt, right?

And yet the first Christmas wasn't what it should've been either. Pain and unmet expectations define the majority of the Christmas story. Mary & Joseph should've been honored for their faithfulness instead of disgraced. Mary should've gotten to stay in the comfort of her home (or at least gotten the big room at the inn). And most of all, Our Lord and Savior, Eternal God, Author of Life should've been born some place other than a stable, some place warm and clean and free of animals.

Yet, He chose to enter into the lowly place. He chose to begin with the broken, to be the comfort to pain, even upon His entrance into this world.

It's January, a time for fresh starts and blank slates, a new opportunity to get our acts together. But may we all remember as we pack up Christmas, that Christ still seeks to meet us where we hurt. Our expectations, our should've beens, may fall short. But His presence will match our needs every time. And then He goes even further.

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly 
than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus 
throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen"
Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)

Here's to a blessed 2012, dear friends. I can't wait to journey with you!