I Came in Like a Christmas Ball...
-Rev Melissa Fain-
Important note: This was only on our tree for a couple of days many years ago. It was put there during the height of the Wreaking Ball video. I personally thought it was hilarious. Also, this is the week before Advent officially begins, so I'm being a little less serious, and a little more fun this week.
Half a decade ago our life was tough. Tough like scraping pennies together to have enough for groceries after coupons tough. Tough like needing to work difficult hours as a waitress to get those pennies tough. Christmas was just a reminder of how tough it really was. For me, I'd survive. I'd been through tight Christmas' before. My sister and I, as teens, decorated the house with dollar store decorations when we couldn't afford anything else. We celebrated with Coke bottles and knickknacks. My kids, however, had no context. How would we bring Christmas, when we could barely bring dinner?
I brought little things into the home. I left notes for my son, and printed out jokes to leave around the house. Yes, we bought dollar store items to decorate. Like, I still hang this green felt snowflake ornament I purchased all those years ago.
And yes, I found this printout of Miley Cyrus to attach to a Christmas ornament. It wasn't side splitting hilarious, but it was fun.
When we think of Jesus, we somehow get caught up in this stoic interpretation of events. All the hay was perfect, with nary a sheep dropping in sight. The weather is comfortable. The animals were all silent. You don't have to work on a farm to know that's not how it works. You are in a middle of a conversation and suddenly the sheep is dropping pellets right next to you. The smell is not peaches and cream, but animal urine and whatever they're eating. If there were pigs, then you can be promised slop will smell rancid.
Which reminds me: a manger is a feeding trough. You don't think the animals, who normally ate from where Jesus was sleeping, wasn't constantly trying to get to where he was? It wasn't a picture perfect sight, but it was something Mary and Joseph could laugh about years later.
The truth of the matter is, the more we are willing to see the practical reality of Christmas, the easier it will be for us to be content with the results. Christmas is real, warts and all.
Let us pray:
Dear Father in Heaven,
As we remember your Son, help us let go of our perfection to laugh at and enjoy the imperfection.