Sometimes right in the midst of our hustle and busyness God speaks.  Often I am not very good at paying attention or listening but I am grateful that despite my chaos He continues His pursuit of us- to show us love and give us freedom, sometimes from things we did not even know were still holding power over us.

This week I was out doing some holiday errands (because mamas make the holidays happen #amirite?) and I drove right past this Nativity scene and I did a double take.  It was along a busy road seemingly not affiliated with any church or location nearby.  It was nestled in between shiny shopping areas and people like me were flying by in our massive cars without even glancing over.  But a mile down the road something in me said go back and really LOOK & SEE it. I actually turned around even though my schedule demanded I continue on to do all.the.things. I just walked around it and then sat down in front of it.  It was so unremarkable; if anything it’s chipped paint and worn wood made it out of place with the cleaned up daily life that surrounded it.  But I sat there completely overwhelmed and started to cry.  It seemed to be God’s spirit reminding me that this is indeed what we are waiting for, what we celebrate amidst the traditions, the busyness, the distractions of Christmas. We celebrate that Jesus came to dwell among us- in our broken world- to become acquainted with pain, and grime, and joy, and suffering, and beauty. 

I was listening to a podcast recently and one of the speakers said something along the lines of “the pain in our lives sometimes obscures our view of Jesus” and while I think I understand what they were meaning in the context I remember thinking no, I think that our pain is exactly what helps us see Him more clearly.” If you are in a place of disappointment, mourning, health trials, pain, or daily overwhelm I think that is exactly where Jesus may be ready to meet you. I often meet Him there, when we are worn away and offering anything but our best or shiny but still just choosing to come anyway. In the midst of my day when I was trying to accomplish all the things that would make Christmas shine Jesus met me and reminded me that often I am trying for something that was never meant to be. The cracked pieces of my life and yours are what he enters into. That is what we mark at Christmas, that is what we wait for and hope for. The immortal God made flash that bleeds and experiences pain and ultimately dies to offer Himself to a hardened and messed up world. As I am witness to friends walking through difficulties that bring exhaustion & threaten to make us fear the future, as we bear witness to a child dealing with trauma that in a just world she would never have encountered, as I reckon with my own failing health, as I feel guilt over my anything but perfect parenting and my many failures I was reminded in this little broke down Nativity scene along the side of the road that there is Light peeking through an overwhelming sense of darkness. 

This broke down Nativity is exactly me and maybe you; disappointments, fears, failures, trauma, unforgiveness, injustice, unmet expectations, and our worn away spirits at times.  My gift this Christmas to mark Jesus’s birth looks worn & unimpressive but it is the continued trust to believe that my very self is enough- that Jesus came to know us- He entered my pain and brokenness and yours too.  Maybe that is the best life we can live: fully embracing what is and the gifts amidst pain that come and asking for the grace to more clearly see Jesus & one another in it all. Merry Christmas Friends, may it be a celebration of the light breaking through the darkness.
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