I love images and displays of the nativity: the peaceful manger scene of mom, dad, and baby. A bright star shining down on a stable where cattle lay softly lowing, a donkey nibbling hay, and sheep baaing their welcome—a picture of warmth and coziness.
Through the years, I’ve spent long hours trying to create such Christmases. I’ve dreamed of perfect, peaceful scenes of children gathered around a glittering Christmas tree fully focused on my hubby’s reading of the Christmas story, eager to help in all aspects of preparation, and willing to sing carols and Christmas hymns every evening of Advent.
I’ve planned for hours of meaningful time spent talking, playing, and reading together around the soft glow of candles, the scent of pine, cinnamon, and cloves filling the air. No one’s feelings hurt. No sorrow. No mess.
Christmas: Messy, Noisy, and Beautiful
Yet how often do any of our Christmases go that way? In short, never. And we have to learn that this is okay. Our Christmases will be messy and noisy. But contrary to our depictions and imaginings, so was the first Christmas.
After all, being a real, live baby with a real, live birth, Jesus most likely came into the world squalling and messy. The place of His birth, whether stable or cave, was most certainly not sanitized and perfumed for His arrival. With the census happening, it may well have been a loud, busy night in Bethlehem. Jesus’s mother and father were undoubtedly exhausted, with little energy left to savor the peace. I imagine they were hungry and scared as well.
Although God’s perfect plan, that first Christmas looked anything but perfect in the eyes of its participants.
We all can quit striving to pull off the perfect Christmas because that’s already been done—more than 2,000 years ago. [←Tweet this.]
And that perfect first Christmas … it was messy, noisy, and beautiful too.
More than 2,000 years after Jesus was born, people the world over are still drawn together by the wondrous, glorious meaning of this one Holy day, this one Gift, this one God in flesh. People all across the world celebrate the miraculous birth of the Christ-babe.
Christmas celebrations: None perfectly peaceful, none entirely pristine, but all beautiful in their common meaning.
So when I came across this fun glimpse into Christmas celebrations around the world, I just knew I had to share it with you. Take a short break from trying to fix the mess of your Christmas preparations and be reminded of the reason we celebrate at all. Click on the image to be taken to the Compassion article and see all the pictures.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Reflections: What’s the harm of striving for a perfect Christmas?
Joining Holley Gerth’s Coffee for your Heart linkup. Click on the image to read all the encouraging posts.
Yours in grace ≈ Julie
Yours in grace ≈