Gazing at a Nativity Set, it's hard for me to imagine anything less than a serene stable filled with the glory of God on the night Jesus was born.
Maybe that's why my desire this morning to sort-of panic about all the last-minute things I've "put off" in an effort to not have a hustle-bustle-kind-of-holiday season seems so wrong.
It's not like I'm getting ready to bring the Son of God to earth or anything.
It's not like the whole world is waiting on me to deliver the Messiah.
I just need pictures printed at Rite-Aid.
And I wish I had one more gift for dad.
And I need to pack my suitcase.
And I'm wondering how little David is doing...he's at the doctor's with a fever.
And.......the list goes on and on.
So, this morning as I think of the calm, silent night that we sing about at church,
I find myself getting a little tickled at the thought of the pre-Christmas happenings that may have occurred before the image of the Nativity scene we hold close in our hearts actually happened.
Did Mary find herself a little overwhelmed with her surroundings?
Did Joseph feel like an inadequate husband as he fluffed the straw around Mary, wishing he had a more comfortable bed to offer his young wife?
Did Mary ever glance up at him and think,
"Seriously, an angel told you I was going to give birth to the Son of God and this is the best you could do?!?"
Did the shepherds feel empty-handed as they stood in the Presence of the One who had caused the sky to fill with angels announcing his arrival?
The wise men did show up bearing amazing gifts, but if you read the story all the way through you learn that they didn't appear in the Christmas story until Jesus was a toddler.
They really shouldn't put any pressure on us as we prepare for the Christmas season.
After all, even though their gifts were great, they were very late for the celebration.
If you think about it, the true picture of Jesus' birth really only holds four things:
a dirty stable,
a young, inexperienced couple,
some stinky animals,
and some gift-less shepherds.
This morning, as I sit here in need of a shower, ordering last-minute pictures from Rite-Aid while realizing I have about ten more things to do before leaving for my parents,
I'm going to take a deep breath and laugh because God's Story of redemption began in the same way my Christmas Eve is beginning.......
Nothing planned (by the characters in the story).
I'm embracing the real picture of the first Christmas today,
and I'm allowing myself to believe that maybe, just maybe,
Mary felt a little edgy and a little ill-prepared as she prepared for Jesus' arrival.
And it was okay.
Laugh today in spite of your last-minute feelings of inadequacy.
Soak up the moments, no matter how imperfect, unplanned, or simple.
And have a very merry Christmas!
I love you all so much!!!