Some might call it an addiction. I refer to it as a budding Christmas tradition. Every night I curl up on the couch with a warm cozy blanket, Christmas tree lights aglow, and Toto snuggled in my lap. Then it’s time to turn it on – The Hallmark Channel, that is. Once I settle in, the To Do list seems to dissipate as hours of happy endings pass. Scenes appear before me of families joyfully shopping for Christmas trees, romance in quaint lantern-lit towns, miracles abounding at every corner and, of course, a perfect dusting of Christmas snow. Sometimes I close my eyes wishing I could be transmitted into the picture before me. Unfortunately, “Beam me up, Scotty” doesn’t seem to work as it did in Star Trek, and when my eyes open I remain in my living room – just me and my little dog.
For many this Christmas season, there will be no Hallmark happy ending nor joy-filled family gatherings. For those who have lost loved ones, the holidays are a struggle – a reminder of someone special who is now missing. It may also be a difficult adjustment for empty nesters when adult children depart and determine their new priorities and holiday schedules. For singles, the holiday season is often a glaring reminder of their solo status, attending parties on their own or just remaining at home – alone. Even for families who are together, tensions often rise as relatives who have been apart for 364 days are suddenly assembled under the same roof. The reality is that many people’s Christmases are messy.
Ironically, a mess is actually a part of the Christmas story. In his sermon on December 11, 2016, Traders Point Pastor Aaron Brockett explained, “God knows about your mess so He sent Jesus into a mess to save you and me from our mess.” Jesus was not born into royalty nor an easy life but just the opposite – in a stable by an unwed, poor teenager. In fact, Jesus’ family tree includes a prostitute, murderer, swindler, liar, and a thief – a big mess. And sin in our world creates an even bigger one as it divides people, especially loved ones.
“Sin creates a mess,” Aaron said, “You caused it or are the recipient of someone else’s mess.” Many times we can’t clean it up by ourselves, but we can call on the One who can. Jesus gives us the gift of His grace, His unmerited favor, not only at Christmas but all year long. By His grace, He is able to redeem relationships and restore joy and hope into our lives and especially into our messes.
My prayer is that you welcome the One who was born in a manger, not only into your Christmas but your ChristMess. There is a happily ever after beyond the Hallmark Channel.
“Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)