If your life looks anything like mine right now, wow!
We have lots going on around here- both family and farm related. Today and tomorrow we have a ton of people coming by to pick up orders that they will need to feed their families through the holidays. We've had a set of baby goat twins, another baby goat, and a litter of pups.
There are a few last minute Christmas things going on around here too- baking goodies, wrapping gifts- all of them, finishing touches on handmade gifts, preparing food for Christmas Eve dinner, packing to go out of town, cleaning up the house so that the house is clean when we return (pet peeve of mine:), and I'm sure there is more I'm leaving out to keep from totally loosing my mind.
I'm finding that I'm constantly having to remind myself these past few days that in the midst of striving to do all of this and seeking perfection in all of these things, the very first Christmas was less than perfect in man's eyes.
The day was just as the God of the universe ordained it to be in the prophesies of long ago. But, by our man-made standards, the birth of Jesus was less than perfect.
Mary and Joseph traveled an extremely long distance- she on a donkey and Joseph on foot.
They traveled away from family and friends at a time when you hope to be surrounded by those you love during the final days leading up to the birth of their child. Everything familiar to them was left behind.
Mary was near the end of her pregnancy during this journey which could make for a pretty uncomfortable ride to Bethlehem.
Once they arrived at Bethlehem, there was no where available for her to deliver Jesus, but a simple stable filled with animals and probably all of the smells that accompany the animals. What woman dreams of delivering in a barn?
There were no midwives around to help with the delivery- just Joseph. And this was during a time in history when the husbands usually waited outside as the midwives and female relatives assisted with the delivery.
The birth of Christ was celebrated by simple shepherds and wise men who were all complete strangers to Mary and Joseph. And yet, though they were strangers, they all had one thing in common- they were awe-struck by the wonder of the birth of the Savior.
These complete strangers knew that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, was wrapped in clothes in a simple barn before their very eyes.
Its so hard for us to grasp. We are bombarded with perfection surrounding Christmas. We want to give the perfect gift, create the perfect family traditions, bake the perfect snickerdoodles, decorate the perfect tree, wrap with wrapping perfection, and the list goes on we become more focused on the things of this world than of Christ at a time when we should be overcome with thankfulness.
Sounds like a lie of the Devil to me.
I keep repeating these truths over and over to myself.
Christ came in the most simple way imaginable so that ALL men could relate to him.
His birth was less than perfect to man, but just as God had ordained it to be.
Christmas is not about perfection, its about showing thankfulness to God the Father for loving us enough to send his perfect son to be born into this evil world to save us, to give us hope, to cleanse us.
He wants our focus to be on Him. He doesn't want to share us with this made-up Christmas perfection.
So, if your snickerdoodles don't turn out perfectly, or your homemade bath fizzies fall apart, or you don't get everything accomplished that you think you must- remember that what made Christmas perfect on the very first Christmas in Bethlehem was what was wrapped up in simple cloths lying in a manager. The baby named, Jesus, came to this earth to speak peace into our lives. Emanuel- God is with us!
"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:11-14