When Christmas Gets Messy
A dear friend of mine is going through a rough time right now. It's hard to watch, because all I can do is offer some hollow sounding platitudes. It's harder to watch her try to put on a brave face because she feels like she "has to" or "it's Christmas."
The thing is, we say Christmas is about Jesus, who came to save us from our mess and sin, but then when December hits we try our best to hide the mess. The house is decorated to perfection, you're scrubbing things you haven't scrubbed since the last time the in-laws visited, and anything deemed to be "not Christmasy" is swept under the now very clean rug until January.
I know we like to be happy and joyful this time of year, but have we put so much pressure in being joyful that joy itself has actually become a chore?
The thing is, I don't think Jesus is afraid of our messiness and non-joy, even in His birthday month (which for the record likely wasn't even actually December anyways). Jesus was born in a barn, rejected by His own community, doubted by His closest friends, and died in one of the most horrific ways known to man completely naked (a fact we don't talk about often and is seldom depicted in art, but is undoubtedly true).
Life is messy, and doesn't cease to be that way just because it happens to be December. But you know what? I don't think Jesus minds the messiness. He came to save us from that very thing, in fact.
So if a reason to cry presents itself, cry. If a reason to mourn arises, mourn. Have the difficult conversations. Fall apart. Be messy. The God of the broken hearted, downtrodden, forgotten, and destitute is still Comforter, Counselor, Life-Giver, Emmanuel even at Christmastime.