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franklin county times

Dealing with messiness of Christmas

“Christmas forces us to deal with all the mess of our humanity in the context of God, who has already entered the mess in the glorious birth of Jesus.” —Eugene Peterson

Christmas is messy, isn’t it? The hauling out of the decorations is messy. The preparation of food is messy. The wrapping of gifts, messy. The figuring out what to wear for Christmas pictures, messy. You get the picture, right?

Maybe the messiest part of Christmas is the people. The additional stress and expectation of the holiday season can make already tenuous relationships even more difficult. Even if the conflict isn’t between us and someone else, we’re all impacted by the negativity some people bring to gatherings.

It’s not just the people we know who can make life messy, either; it can be the crowds at the mall or the lack of open lanes at Walmart or the driver who isn’t paying attention at the stoplights.

If we’re honest, the additional stress of the holidays opens the door for a little less patience or compassion for others – even during the season when we’re bombarded with opportunities to give to others.
The next month will be busy, and busy-ness always seems to bring messiness to our lives.

That’s part of why I love Advent so much. It’s an invitation to slow down in the middle of all the crazy and reflect on the coming of Christ, the reason why He came and the hope we have in His return.

Earlier this week I was reading in Genesis 3, about Adam and Eve. I was struck by God’s question to them in verse nine, “Where are you?” God knew where they were. He knew they were hiding the mess they’d made.

He was asking the question for their sake.

Maybe, as we begin this Christmas season, you hear the whisper of God, “Where are you?” Advent is an invitation to slow down, to remember the Who and the why of our Christmas celebration.

It’s possible your heart is where the biggest mess is. Maybe over the past year you’ve lost the intimacy you had with the Lord. Perhaps you’re harboring some bitterness or unwillingness to forgive.

God is asking you the same question He asked Adam and Eve, “Where are you?”

My prayer for myself and for all of us is that we would step out into the light of His love and choose to walk with Him through the mess of the Christmas season, knowing He came right into this mess to show us what love looks like.

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