An Inconvenient Christmas

Christmas is not found in the in a post card Winter Wonderland world we imagine. Rather, it is discovered in the messy life of our unfinished tasks and unfulfilled longings.

God’s comfort, however, comes when we welcome Him into the fragmented parts of our lives, not just the parts we have all together. Mary welcomed the baby Jesus at an inconvenient time in her life. As a young woman engaged to be married, she is invited by God to be the mother of the Messiah. Then, nine months later and three days journey from home, her moment of birth arrives while she is lodging in a barn. Now that’s inconvenient! God’s timing is perfect but not always opportune.

Vulnerable and humble the Lord of all arrives, clothed in humility, disguised as a man. Like an Avatar but more, Jesus is fully God while becoming fully man.

Mary Joseph and Jesus#1#
I struggle at times to see how my every day life connects to God’s greater purposes in the world. Looking at the Bible, however, I see another reality. God is at work in this fragmented and suffering world. We are in the middle of a great cosmic struggle that will culminate in the return of Jesus Christ. For now, creation groans, we groan, the spirit groans and the groaning is getting louder. (Rom. 8) God is in the midst of this groaning with tears of his own. We are not alone in our struggle; there is hope.

God is on my side even when I doubt myself and waver in faith. His promised Holy Spirit is our advocate who comes alongside just when we need him. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness.” (Romans 8.) God’s help, in this verse, originally meant “together against” and to “support and help.” Christmas reminds us that God is on our side even when we fail to see Him.

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ‘til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.