Friday, January 17, 2014
The Messy Truth of Christmas
If there is one thing I've learned in the past year and a half, it's that life is messy. It doesn't go how you want it to. We tend to focus on the "big" things in life like where we live, where we work, who we marry, how many kids we have, etc. But the day-to-day mundane in and out living life is just.... hard. And I often feel guilty about this because of how blessed I know I am.
When I think about sharing my thoughts, I struggle with that balance of being open and vulnerable and real.... but also not having a spirit of complaint. I have this other photo blog that I created awhile back to help me focus on the joys of each day. This has served its purpose and I plan to continue it as it's also been a fun diary of sorts. However, as I continually reassess the purpose of it, I know there are people out there who would think that by my blog, I have it all together and have fun all the time and whatever other appearances might be extracted from the "outside." I know when I view other blogs, I internally compare myself to the life of the blogger that I have created in my imagination, even though I fight this.
I don't know how often I will actually write on this blog, but my purpose here it to be open and real about some of the day to day struggles I face, and yet embrace the messy life I've been blessed with.
So the picture above summarizes our Christmas Day this year. It is one of about a bazillion pictures I tried to take of my girls dressed up in front of our tree. Yes, that's right, the other girl isn't even in the picture. So here are some thoughts from my journal that afternoon after this, but before we headed to our big gathering of the day (which ended in a horrible tantrum from this one pictured above).
"..... How can I live my life with the focus on the gifts of forgiveness, grace, peace, love, and joy that Jesus brings when so much of this world distracts? Even today, I was caught up in things of worldly importance when I wanted a cute picture of the girls and of our family all dressed up by the Christmas tree. The girls were crabby and wouldn't cooperate and I became easily frustrated and too caught up in getting that perfect Christmas picture. But even if everything aligned perfectly and they both happened to cooperate and smile (with chocolates in hand that I had bribed with), what would that have been?
Because the truth this Christmas Day is that real life is messy. Actually, it's always messy.... and always has been for any human who has ever lived. Many people may try to pretend it isn't and all those beautiful Christmas cards I received this year certainly don't lead me to believe that anyone else has this kind of difficulty getting their kids to smile (or beyond).
But real life is messy, today and always, because of sin, because of the fall that took us all down. And who walked into this messiness? The messiness that goes far deeper than my kids not smiling for a Christmas Day picture? Who walked into the world of blatant sin, of greed, abuse, hunger, malice, filth, lies, power, murder, adultery, and on and on?
God himself. Incarnate.
Oh wait, but he didn't walk in, he was birthed in. Birthed. As in, through a teenage virgin's vaginal canal, crying, covered in blood and vernix, and into dirt and hay and animal waste. God was literally birthed into the messiness of our world to bring new birth and life to the messiness of our sinful lives.
Fully God. Fully human. So mysterious.
Emmanuel, God with us.
This is the hope I have, the focus I must continually have. God is here. Jesus has come. And he didn't just come, but He came with a purpose... to love, forgive, bring peace, bring joy, and most of all, to take on the weight of literally the sin of the world and suffer a brutal death on a cross in my place.... in the place of all of us. Wow.
So a nice Christmas tree picture of my girls smiling? Even if I had captured it, it would pale in comparison to the beauty of the glory of God and the significance of this Christmas Day.
So in the coming year, I pray that I can embrace the messy, laugh, and celebrate Jesus more fully every day."
Posted by Rachel at 12:09 PM