Merry Christmas, Indeed

“Let’s get outside,” I say. We walk around the backyard late in the afternoon, watching the full moon rise. Faint but huge, the orb brightens in the dusky December sky as she tells of latest art project and a story she had just been reading. Her bright eyes sparkle with mischief and her infectious laugh fills the air. I’m amazed at the person she is growing up to be.

***

6am. A headlong dive smack in the middle of our bed, followed by a snuggle. A warm little body invades our space, with one little arm draped over my shoulder. I feel a nudge. “Mom, stop snoring,” comes a whisper. The cosy morning routine will be missed when it’s gone for good, but for now this is our daily alarm.

***

“Mom, don’t you have to do something in here?” A sly smile crosses her face. I realize that for some unknown reason, these kids don’t want me to come out of my room just yet so I busy myself with a few things. Then, a knock on my door. “You can come out now,” she announces. Surprise! The whole living room is clean and ready for a party. She beams with pride as I hug her tight.

***

“Here you go,” she says. “I made this for you.” She holds out a small, handmade character with googly eyes. “You did? Wow, amazing job!” I gush. Her face lights up. This one always seems to know when someone needs a boost. Her quiet encouragement is an incredible gift to our family. “Thank you sweetheart.” I wrap her up in my arms.

***

We collapse onto the couch after a particularly demanding few days, finally finding a quiet moment together. In the soft light of the Christmas tree, tears of disappointment roll down my cheeks and I share my heart. With his gentle presence and steady reassurance, I know I am not alone. 

***

This week has been a lesson in “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be good”. Life swept in with a vengeance, as it often does, waylaying all our final Christmas preparations and plans. And while the weight of the imperfect always threatens to crush what is very good in our lives, the good prevails because the best gifts don’t fit under the tree anyway. The good prevails because no matter our circumstances, we welcome Christmas and all that it means.

Whether or not the stockings are stuffed and the presents are wrapped…

the house is tidy and everyone is healthy…

the family is whole and relationships are happy…

Christmas comes right into the mess. Regardless of the imperfection that rages around us, we have true hope, lasting peace, deep joy and perfect love because we know that Christ has come! And He has promised to return to make all things new. He is good and His love endures forever, and His faithfulness continues to all generations (Ps. 100:5).

It’s never lost on me that we mark the longest night of the year and birth of the Saviour mere days apart. Even the rhythm of the seasons points us to the Light of the World! The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. The people stumbling around in the black of night, desperate eyes searching the heavens for a glimpse, a twinkle, a spark… the people losing courage with every passing moment… the people who are convinced they have been utterly forgotten and cast aside… 

into their world… 

into our world…

the Light has come.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-14 (NIV)

How can we stay silent, when salvation is finally here?

Sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.

The Lord has made his salvation known
    and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

He has remembered his love
    and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;

make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,

with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.

Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;

let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity.

Psalm 98 (NIV)

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

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