The first Christmas was far from calm and bright.
It was the rush, sleeplessness and trepidation of a first child being born. It was the busyness of visitors arriving unexpected and over-excited. It was weariness and joy and hope and exhaustion! Sound familiar?
The first Christmas was not so very unlike our Christmas season now.
For Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, Wise Men and Shepherds this was not a season of calm but it was a season of insight. It was a time in which God’s voice spoke clearly despite the noise of wearying travel, childbirth, long work hours, cultural awkwardness and family issues.
God understands the reality of Christmastime faff. The Christmas story did not happen in a quiet, tranquil village, attended by people in their spare time. Each Nativity character heard God’s voice amidst the everyday of their lives. They came to the journey, the stable, the temple, with hope, yes, and joy, but also with the realities of life surrounding them.
My prayer for today is that it won’t be only when all the noise is silenced that you are able to hear God’s voice. My prayer is that amidst the travel, the long work hours, the awkwardness and family issues that you will hear God’s voice speak to you. That he will whisper hope, joy and calling to you as you go about the everyday realities of this season.
“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. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”.
It can feel so easy to feel frustrated, not good enough and stressed in this season, I find. The desire to buy meaningful yet cheap gifts, see all the people you're too busy to see the rest of the year and still have time to sit awestruck at the beautiful story at the heart of it can all seem rather overwhelming. However, the purpose at the heart of this festival is not to leave you feeling condemned. Rather, it occurred to lead to freedom, community and joy. May you walk free from condemnation as you rush around this Christmas, and rather know his deep love for you, his hope, joy and peace amidst it all.