Thursday, December 11, 2008

Have a Messy, Blessed Christmas

Christmas is a messy holiday. I didn't say merry; I said messy. Think about it – it’s about a birth. Been to any birthing rooms lately? Well, Joseph’s and Mary’s was outdoors in a holed-out animal shelter. See what I mean? Messy!

But no wonder -- Parenting is messy. So it’s fitting it starts that way on day one. Remember your first child’s birth! Whew, it was a rude awakening for yours truly!

And the messiness of children continues. And I don’t just mean logistically or physically. But emotionally. Psychologically. Spiritually. There’s no way around it – children are messy!

Yet, no real parent would trade the messiness of children for the cleanliness of loneliness. Why? Because it’s in the mess that we’re blessed! That’s right – the blessedness is in the messiness. For it’s when we get our hands dirty that we do more than eye a work of God – we experience it!

Recall the manger in the holed-out animal shelter? God coming to earth via the birth canal amid an audience of animals. No doubt that was a hands-on experience for Joseph and Mary. No doubt a blessed mess!

No other verse describes the blessedness of messiness better than John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Now that’s a messy verse! Literally, the language could read he “pitched his tent” among us. Not near us. Not by us. Among us. Right smack dab in the middle of us. Yeah, us – the liars, stealers, backbiters, lusters, enviers, haters, murderers, adulterers, rebellious, proud, complainers, lazy, and addicted – us! That’s where he landed. Pretty messy, huh? That’s Jesus!

So get your hands dirty this Christmas. Jesus did on the first one. And we’ve all been blessed ever since.

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