Merry Christmas

It’s dark and the world is swathed in a cocoon of thick fog. I was at a bonfire earlier tonight, sparks swirling like fireflies above my head. The heat from the burning frees allowed for a peek through the dense fog into the inky blue skies dotted with pinpricks of light millions of miles away. Guitar music blended with the voices of fifty people huddled as near to the fire as they dared, singing Christmas carols softly.

The scene was perfect. For a few blessed moments, I was able to get away from the bustle of holiday parties, finding the perfect present for each occassion, and trying to figure out just which little black dress suited the event best. As I stood by the fire watching the embers glow, I thought about Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Mostly Jesus.

I thought about how we try to santize the Christmas story. Jesus was a baby boy born in squalid poverty not a sterile hospital.  His pregnant mother, who was visiting the hometown of her husband, was told to stay with the animals instead of being welcomed as family. Joseph had to struggle with the fact that the baby his wife was carrying wasn’t his own. He knew that the boy who should have carried his family name would one day carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. Jesus was birthed in pain, born into a loving, but broken home.

I don’t think that it makes it any less holy. The moment Jesus was born was the moment that heaven came crashing into earth. Eternity and time collided as God filled out human flesh.  Our Christmas carols don’t do justice to the poetry of the universe that God wrote into that night.  Our melodies do not capture the wonder as all of heaven watched the story of redemption start to unfold. Our frail, warbling voices do not begin to sound like the song that God was singing that night.

Mary pondered all the events surrounding her son’s birth. I think it’s time we did the same. May your holiday be filled with love and cheer that will linger in your heart through the coming year. Merry Christmas!



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