Christmas can be sheer delight. Festive celebrations; tables surrounded with people we love; the enchantment and sparkle of the season.
Christmas can be demanding and stressful. Our days are overcommitted and overscheduled; our homes and lives are filled with things upon things; we rush our frazzled selves through endless tasks.
Christmas can evoke deep sadness. Our hearts are heavy; we feel the sharp edges of loss; cheer and beauty seem a lie.
Whether we find ourselves in a season of joy, anxiety, or sorrow, there is one constant - always available. An invitation to rest in the story.
It began so long ago with a frightened teenager and her bewildered fiancé. Finding themselves in a situation that made no earthly sense, they chose to abandon their own agenda and submit to God’s plan.
Peace often comes with surrender - even when we don’t understand, even when it doesn’t seem possible.
Time passed, and the homeless young couple needed a safe place to bring their first child into the world. In an over-crowded town, every available space was taken. Reliant upon the generosity of a stranger, they accepted the inn-keeper’s offer. A stable – the only thing he had left to give. It wasn’t ideal or beautiful, but it was enough.
There is the possibility of a miracle when we freely offer what little we have.
The shepherds were the first to hear the news. Lowly and outcast by society, God entrusted them with the most holy message. They didn’t overthink or hesitate. Eager to meet Jesus, they went just as they were.
Opportunity is often directly related to willingness and availability.
And then, the Magi – the kings who abandoned reason and logic to follow a star. Guided by faith and wonder, they risked their lives to embark on a hot and dusty journey that would take years. They brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but the gift of real value was the double-crossing of King Herod that allowed the young family a safe escape.
Great feats can be accomplished with courage and awe.
At its core, Christmas is a love story offering healing and restoration. It is a season that has space for loneliness and longing as much as it has room for festivity.
Wherever Christmas finds you this year, may you stay in the story. May you rest in the beauty of a silent night and a simple birth; may you search for stars and follow them; may you accept the intangible gifts of hope and peace and possibility; may you experience God’s delight in using modest places and humble hearts.