It’s not just beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It’s almost Christmas and I hope that you’ve been enjoying the ride toward the celebration of the birth of Jesus. I hope that maybe you’ve even enjoyed the messiness of Christmas. Of course our nostalgia about Christmas’s past erase all the messiness of the past, and leaves us hoping for some form of pristine goodness Christmas just can’t deliver. So I hope you can enjoy both the good things that come during this holiday right along with the messy things. Because it’s the goodness of God found in the messy that we really experience the presence of God’s greatness and goodness.
You know one of the things that has stood out to me as I’ve read through the story of Christ’s birth is this one line that the angel says to the shepherds in Luke 2. The angel tells the shepherds that the Messiah has been born, and then says “this shall be a sign to you. You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.” The Jewish people, at the time of Christ’s birth, were looking for a big audacious sign from God that He was finally going to save the day for the whole world. For them, just like for us, a sign needed to be so overwhelming and convincing and spectacular that it would be indisputable to everyone. But God’s sign that He really was at work to save the day for the whole world was both marvelous and messy. A baby was born, wrapped in the kind of cloth that was normally wrapped around marvelous newborns in the 1st century. But that baby, who happened to be the marvelous king of the world, was lying in a messy donkey spittled manger. This was the sign that God had come into our messiness, and is still present in our messiness, to redeem us and the whole world. So instead of saying Merry Christmas, allow me to say Messy Christmas to you my readers.