Is Christmas always perfect?
Many of us struggle to create a perfect Christmas. We attempt to choose the perfect tree—use treasured ornaments—make food from traditional family recipes, and decorate our homes with lights and greens. But, alas, as hard as we try, it is never quite perfect.
Like the year I miscarried our baby on Christmas Eve day, the year my brother died early in December and my Mom was in the hospital trying to recover from pancreatic cancer surgery. Then there was the year my sister had liver cancer and we all got together for the last time. Not too long after that, my brother-in-law died a few days before Christmas, and other loved ones were also missing from the Christmas table.
This year is no different as my friend’s husband died today, several others from my church family, and a couple of friends back home have also died during the past couple of weeks. My ninety-six year old mother-in-law had a stroke last week and is now in Hospice care. She is not expected to live very much longer.
I can’t think of many Christmases which were perfect, and certainly not the first one. Imagine having to travel about eighty miles on a donkey and walking when you are due to have a baby. When you get to where you are going, there are no inns available and your time has come for the child to be born. Finally, your husband finds a stable where you have your child on a pile of hay with no comforts of home. Your child doesn’t even have a bed. So, you throw cloths on some hay in a manger and put Him there.
The animals would be milling about, and it no doubt stinks and it was probably cold. This certainly was not a perfect day for Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Mary knew Jesus was sent from God, and would have wished for better circumstances in which to give birth.
But the greatest thing was that God was there! And an angel choir came and announced the birth to some lowly shepherds who glorified and praised God which was the perfect response.
Through some very painful years, God has taught me that Christmas is not about me or my circumstances. Christmas is “Joy to the world the Lord has come.” And, that’s why Christmas is always perfect no matter what.
Prayer: Thank you God for sending your Gift of Jesus to save us from our sins. Amen