When you’re on the first leg of a roller coaster going “click, click, click, click, click” and you finally make it to the last click at the top with a perfect view of all the way down – this can be the very description of Christmas Eve. Because Christmas Eve can be the launching pad to crazy so to speak. You know what I’m talking about.
Christmas is the holiday of all holidays. Expectations are never higher. Even if you’ve rationalized it all in your mind, our hearts are eternally set on a perfect Christmas. It’s just how we’re wired.
Just two years ago, after putting the last set of matching pajamas on edge of a guest’s bed and the last of the presents under the tree, I found out I had the flu. THE. FLU. The diagnosis came as the doctor was explaining I was to be quarantined for FIVE DAYS – which meant I was missing Christmas that year. Along with the house full of guests on their way to stay for several days, and all the food and fun. Yup. It was definitely a LET DOWN. Especially since I’d prepared for so long and anticipated this time together so much. But it was THIS Christmas – the one I totally missed – that taught me something I had NEVER thought about.
Christmas is PERFECT. It literally stands on it’s own as PERFECTION. Look into the picture, you know, the manger scene. Re-read the scripture we gloss over so easily, missing the reality.
Is Mary freaking out because there was no room at the Hyatt and they’re traveling and she is GIVING BIRTH TO THE MESSIAH? Is Joseph holding his nose and searching for Febreeze because they’re literally in a manger? Is it a scene of chaos and disappointment? Are their hearts heavy and sad because it didn’t unfold the way they had expected?
There is nothing in the manger scene besides PERFECT PEACE and AWE. Glory to God in the highest because HE is the only One that can take what would be a dismal picture by our expectations and make it absolutely perfect.
Luke 2:20 “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” This manger scene is the fulfillment of God’s promise. THIS IS OUR GIFT. Nothing can be added or taken away from it. It is perfect, eternal and ALL OURS. 1 John 5:11 “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
God provides us with the perfect Christmas every year – because it’s this time of year we are reminded that THE GREATEST GIFT of all is ours for the asking. It reminds us we are LOVED and CHERISHED and SPECIAL and the only problem that really matters is already TAKEN CARE OF.
So. Now what? Well, when the mother in law insists on bringing green Jello salad with marshmallows in it instead of the Italian Wedding Cake you suggested (this may or may not have actually happened just days ago in my life) – it has zero impact. Zilch. It doesn’t go with my menu or seemingly help what I was trying to achieve for Christmas dinner. But it just doesn’t matter. I’m literally “Tra La La…nothing to see here”.
Because one year God pulled me close. That Christmas when I lay in bed so sick and alone. I could hear Christmas happening just outside my bedroom door, but I wasn’t there. He took all my expectations away that year and invited me to lean into the manger scene to see that God’s ALREADY made Christmas perfect and we are invited to just enjoy it.