Our first married Christmas we spent 9 floors apart from one another at Vanderbilt, my husband working in the emergency department and me working up in the ICU. His family was at home in Franklin and mine had traveled to Virginia to be with extended family as they have done my entire life. We had celebrated Christmas a little early but there’s still something about not being there on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in a house lit by the soft glow of candles and Christmas lights, music playing in the background, the smell of Frasier fur and your favorite people in the world under one roof, that makes you feel like you’re missing Christmas.
But the truth is, we weren’t missing Christmas that year.
As the weeks in December have clipped along and the festivities of the season and starting to settle down, I’ve come to a starling realization; though we won’t spend this Christmas working in the ER this year, and although we’ll spend it under the same roof with people we love so dearly, I’m about to miss Christmas altogether.
2016 has been such a strange and difficult year for so many and particularly for this world we are living in. As I look across the broad landscape of world events, politics and social injustice to the close up and personal things of my life, like starting over, the grieving process and the process of being made new, and I am looking for God in the midst of it all. I'm looking for him to show up and set it all right.
What I really mean is that I’m looking for God to show up anywhere but the manger.
The manger is, well, sort of laughable; a crock almost.
Seriously, what in the world? A tiny baby, a fragile little human?
And that is also the beauty.
That even in something as laughable as a manger and as helpless as a baby, God came to us and began to rewrite the entire course of history.
He began to rewrite the story of sin and darkness that we had lived I and he wrote us into his great big beautiful story of love and power and redemption.
So I won’t miss Christmas this year because of work responsibilities or distance that separates us from long held traditions.
But I will miss the wonder of the babe in a manger if I’m too busy looking for a better answer, a more plausible solution.
An I’ll miss the unadorned ways in which joy wells up in our lives and hearts if we’re always looking for something great and big, something wild and extravagant.
I’ll miss that feeling that comes in the stillness and quietness of the night where you can hear the sound of your own heart beat and see your breath in the frigid nights air and you realize just how small you are in this great big world.
We will all miss Christmas if we don’t stop running and doing, trying and striving, because even our best efforts don’t stand a chance when set against the power of our Saviors relentless love.
How beautiful and scandalous the Christmas story is.
How beautiful that we are given the chance, to kneel at the manger and worship Christ the new born king and how scandalous that we could actually miss Christmas altogether.