One of the things I love about Christmas is that it comes whether we are ready or not. It comes if there is snow on the ground or its 60 degrees. It comes if there is peace on earth or the world seems to be going up in flames. It comes whether or not the shopping is done. It comes whether or not the grief is still present. It comes when pain is at its height or when healing has finally come. Christmas shows up. And why? Because Jesus shows up.
It is not contingent on us. That is the promise.
I think about all the ways I am unprepared to welcome God into my life; the doubts, fears, and broken places that take up too much space. And rather than wait for me to get my act together, God comes into my mess and loves me in the midst of it. God, in the form of Jesus, is willing to know us, in all our vagaries and vanities. In Jesus, God knows our pain, our grief, our fears, doubts and brokenness intimately.
So rather than God waiting for us to become more godly, God becomes human, so that we might be loved and understood in the midst of the mess.
There are so many expectations surrounding this holiday season. Somewhere along the way we’ve been told that a merry Christmas requires obligatory office gifts, five dozen cookies, cards for everyone we’ve ever met, a huge meal and an even larger credit card bill. These expectations and false obligations become so overwhelming that we miss the invitation from Jesus to simply be present, and allow the grace-filled love of God to surround us and to transform us.
This Christmas, whether or not your tree is trimmed, your in-laws are pleased, or you heart is in it, may you experience the love that is God showing up in the midst of the mess to be with you. Because you are worth loving. That is a promise.