There was a day last week I screamed at my kids. Full on out crazy woman yelling at the top of her lungs. It was over the top and beyond the normal stressed out mom yelling. It was bad. I immediately felt shame and pure frustration at myself for giving in to the anger. I have worked exceptionally hard on the temper thing.
But this day I failed. I didn't just fail at that though. What led up to this failure was a series of other failures. It's hardly ever one failure, really.
Ever since Thanksgiving, I have had a difficult time getting back into my routine. It's not so much a schedule routine as it is a routine of what I need to be balanced, to overcome anxiety, to be heathy.
Time in God's Word, prayer, and alone time. Those are my three things and I have succumb to the busyness of the season, and they have been neglected. It's been irregular at best. And it is effecting me.
So, in my failures, I was reminded without deep dependence on Christ, I am a mess. I got a glimpse of my old ways. And when you have surrendered and wholeheartedly given to Christ your heart-and you have watched Him turn you into that new creation-you don't take kindly to the moments when your old ugliness returns. Especially when it returns not just out of a moment of weakness, because that I can handle, but it returns because of glaringly neglect of what is priority. I continue to learn those three things are literally water to not just my spirit, but to my very soul.
I have done what I make a commitment every year to not do, get drawn into the stress of the holiday season. I have been a ball of nerves. I have gotten distracted with pretty ornaments and fun Christmas lists. I, in essence, have welcomed some of the messiest parts of myself.
He came in the messy. Dirty streets and smells, he humbly lay. It was planned and foretold, he would not come in glorious riches and splendor. He would come in the quiet, the dark, and the dirty.
Angels celebrated, rejoiced and told of His coming. But He didn't come with His mother riding into town on a white horse - displaying Him as a King for all to see. No, they rode on a donkey, to Bethlehem, discovering not even an inn to house them. Just a mere, dirty stable.
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. Isaiah 11:1
He came out of a family line likened to stump, a root. A root, a line that was all but dried up and gone. But his coming, out of this dry root, promised life and hope. It would bear fruit, and not just a little fruit, but fruit that would multiply in abundance.
God could have chosen a better family line. A family line that held more promise and royalty. A line that was full of life and vitality.
Yet, he didn’t. He came out of a messy family line, he was born in a messy stable to a young, meager woman, and he came for messy people.
He came to bring hope and light to my mess and yours.
So, the days that I scream at my children or I fail miserably in one way or another - I can be reminded that this is the reason he came. He came for me. He brought hope to me, light to my darkness, and strength to my weariness.
His entire coming screamed simple and messy, yet gloriously complexly planned and beautiful. And for us, He takes our mess, and in His forgiveness and love, he turns it into something gloriously beautiful.
No amount of glitter and glitz, pretty ornaments, Christmas wish lists granted, fancy Christmas productions and Christmas sermon series, no amount of Christmas meals, family gatherings or fun plans will ever amount to the beauty, the sheer glory of the simple and humble coming of Jesus.
The ONE who came to dwell. He came to “pitch his tent” among us mess of a people. He came to be WITH you and me.
Ann Voskamp writes this, Why profane His coming with fleshly performances, frantic pushing, futile preoccupations? Profanity, writes Elisabeth Elliot, is “treating as meaningless that which is freighted with meaning. Treating as common that which is hallowed. Regarding as a mere triviality what is really a divine design. Profanity is failure to see the inner mystery.”
Dear God, forgive us when we profane your coming by making these nice gifts you have given us more important than You. God, save us from ourselves - our propensity to stray, to wander away, to be distracted.
The anxiety, the worry, the busy plans, and stressful fretting are burdens to lay at your feet. You came to be light in the darkness.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4
If we so desire, we possess this light. It is ours to hold, to nurture, respond to…and no amount of darkness in our world will EVER overcome the light that is He who came.
This is why we long for His coming. This is the eager anticipation for He who was promised. The Messiah. The Savior of our world.
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17
A bountiful of precious grace poured out over and over in our mess - in our brokenness.
The pretty lights, sweet family gatherings, and fun gifts are the stuff of a Hallmark movie. If disarray has been the story of your Christmas - if pain rather than beauty has filled your home and heart - if quiet and simple define these Christmas moments, you are in good company. You are NOT alone. Your story is at home with our Mighty God and Messiah - Emmanuel, God with us - the Prince of Peace - the Wonderful Counselor. He says, I came for you - not despite of your brokenness - but for your brokenness. The story of Jesus' coming was messy, quiet, and even filled with world conflict. In its purposeful meagerness, may we be reminded that CHRIST IS ENOUGH.
Our mess and mistakes find redemption in the messiness of His coming. Hope is found, and we are embraced. We don’t NEED decorations, family gatherings, and gifts under the tree - we desperately NEED Him who came. It’s time with Him, communion with Him. That’s what we need this Christmas.