The Conflict of Christmas
Throughout the Christmas Season, we often experience a conflict between our expectations, hopes, and dreams for what we want the season to be compared to what it actually is. I made a couple of lists detailing this conflict between what we want and what we get.
What I Want Christmas to Be:
• Sweet time spent with my family
• I will be mistaken for Martha Stewart in my kitchen!
• Our family wholly focused on the depth and meaning of the Christmas season
• A lot of grumbling and arguing between family members
• I was so tired after putting up the tree that I only put out a few more decorations and then stopped. The rest are still in boxes in the garage, where they will remain. Maybe next year.
• I’m either too tired to cook, or else I have to race off to another event, leaving no time to cook.
• The rolling of the eyes of my teenage boys when we call for time to read and discuss our Advent daily chapter of Luke.
What would your lists look like?
It’s easy to see that life’s reality sharply contrasts with how we envision it. And, yet, as Ecclesiastes 1:9 states, “…there is nothing new under the sun.” Throughout Advent, we are focused on the very first Christmas when Jesus entered our world. Was it any different then? What do you think the expectations would be for Christ coming to earth, compared with how it actually was? I don’t know exactly what the expectations were of how it would look, but it was probably far from the reality of how it occurred.
Here is a list of the reality of the first Christmas:
• The angel visited an unwed teenage virgin to tell of the coming of Jesus.
• Jesus wasn’t born into wealth or nobility. His chosen parents were simple and humble.
• When Mary was very pregnant, she and Joseph had to make an extremely long trip to Bethlehem.
• When Jesus was about to enter the world, there was no place available for Mary to give birth. They had to go to a stable for Jesus to be born.
• After Jesus was born, he was placed in a manger, which was used as a trough for animals!
• The announcement wasn’t made to powerful or influential people of the time, but to shepherds who were considered unclean due to constantly being with the animals, making them seen as lowly in society.
• Following Jesus’ birth, the family had to flee to Egypt to escape King Herod’s order to kill all male infants in Bethlehem.
So, when we desire PEACE during our Christmas season, and our reality seems far from it, maybe we can take comfort in knowing that this, too, is reflective of the first Christmas. It was still amazing and beautiful, even though the circumstances were less than ideal. How amazing that God sent his son into the world to set his plan of love and grace into action!
When the reality of your circumstances leaves you feeling far from PEACE, remember this, and that feeling of PEACE won’t be far away.