That's right, Christmas isn't perfect and it's not supposed to be!
Let's think about what God did. There He was sitting up in Heaven, enjoying heavenly meals, listening to heavenly music and looking at all the beautiful things He had created. He had all his needs met and everything He saw was good. Have you read the first chapter of Genesis?
Genesis 1:4 "God saw that the light was good..."
Genesis 1:10 "And God saw that it was good..."
Genesis 1:12 and 1:18 and 1:21 and 1:25 all state, "And God saw that it was good.."
Genesis 1:31 - after He had created Adam and Eve and given them all the other wonderful things He had created the bible says, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."
In other words, God not only lived in a wonderful perfect place...He made something that He felt was truly "good". Of course, the moment He added free will things took a turn for the worse and we started messing things up.
Did God pitch a fit and destroy his creation? No. Even when he was furious with sin (in Noah's time) He still allowed the human race to continue. He still had faith that we could be all he hoped for us to be.
His answer? This time instead of walking as a perfect God with in a perfect garden with an imperfect human (Noah)... God decided to come to this imperfect world.
He was born into this world so he could feel and touch and be here with us. I have friends and family that have visited the holy land. I'm not sure I would like it. They tell me that Jesus' birthplace is marked by a huge cathedral and a gold star. I know Jesus was, is and will always be royalty. But royalty and perfection isn't what Christmas is about.
Christmas is about rejection. Christmas is about two young kids scared out of their mind and worried about their future. They find themselves in a stable while the fear of birth permeated every breath. Fear? Yes. Women frequently died during childbirth and it must have been horrible for Mary. She had just spent a week perched on a donkey or walking over rocky terrain. Try that when you are nine months pregnant and see what that does to all your organs. See how you feel when your husband says, "It will be alright dear, lets just bed down with the animals and have your first child. I don't know anything about childbirth, but I'll help you yell!" I'm sure there was a lot of fear.
And can you imagine how it felt to be pushing during a contraction and have some cow or sheep in the other stall taking care of his own business. That smell would make a woman in childbirth sick to the point of throwing up. I could go on but I won't. Kind of takes away the glitter of royalty doesn't it.
And what about baby Jesus? Cloth wasn't soft then. He wasn't being wrapped in some processed smoother than silk cotton. His swaddling clothes were more likely the consistency of burlap. Have you ever laid on a bed of straw? I did once. We were visiting a ranch in Texas and the guide let me sort of lay on a bed of straw. It wasn't comfortable - it was prickly and would have sent my allergies through the roof. She said it was full of bugs and had to be changed regularly or those sleeping on it would get sick.
And there Jesus - Savior of the world - lay in harsh clothes in a manger of prickly, smelly hay. Why?
I think it's so when we feel like our life has hit rock bottom and we feel like we are sleeping on prickly hay surrounded by smelly cow droppings - Jesus can smile and say, "Been there done that! It's okay, I'm here with you."
I think Jesus was born in a stable so when we fill our lives with unrealistic goals and we watch them crash around us, He can say..."It's not important. It's the love that counts."
Maybe Jesus didn't cry out when hay was poking in his back. Maybe he just laid there and smiled at his parents and thought it was cool to have all the feelings of earth. But maybe....just maybe....He cried out and felt unhappy and sad and thought the sheep should go outside. Maybe He had dreams of what life should be like and how things should have been. Maybe he wished in his little baby mind that Joseph would try one more house and hopefully find an open door with a fireplace and something other than rags for Him to sleep in.
No....more than likely Jesus cried out and Mary reached down and brought him to her chest. She probably sang as all mothers do and Jesus felt her warm body, listened to her beating heart and snuggled down into her love for him.
Christmas will never be perfect. The tree will always have holes, the cake will fall, Aunt June will be testy and the jello will be runny. We have such insignificant goals don't we?
Be assured, as long as there is love you have achieved your goal. As long as there are hugs and smiles and those moments of personal satisfaction....Christmas will be perfect. As long as you do your best to show others that you care, your Christmas will be the best yet.
Remember the Christ child, but also remember that He came for one reason only....to say, "I love you. I love you with all your faults, imperfections and sagging Christmas lights. I love you when you forget the casserole until smoke pores from the oven. I love you when you can't decorate or sing or give gifts. I love you when you are tired or sad or even depressed. I love you when you lose your job or when you get that promotion. I love you when your house costs a million and when it's only a lean to stable. I love you through it all because I've been there and done that."
God loves you - Merry Christmas!