Christmas 2010

This is Finn's stocking:

And this is our poor nativity set, with no baby Jesus and a broken-legged goat:

And this is why I just had to let it go: 

There were mountains to hike, babies and sheep to snuggle, and sand to dig. There were carols and candlelight, card games, and even an engagement to celebrate. There were plenty of cookies to eat, along with lefse (lefse!) and Godiva chocolates and eggnog too. And there was a Christmas story to discover again.

Madeleine L'Engle once wrote, "This is the irrational season, when love blooms bright and wild. Had Mary been filled with reason, there'd have been no room for the child."  In my case though, it wasn't reason that kept me from Jesus, it was that never-ending list. But once I finally let the list go, I could let Christmas in.

And I was strangely heartened to read that right in the story from Luke, right after the angels and the manger and all the sweet stuff our celebrations are made of, there's mention of the grief and the pain that can make Christmas so hard for some people, that can make the whole thing seem like a mockery. The old man Simeon warns Mary, after waiting his whole life for a glimpse of the messiah and finally seeing Jesus brought to the temple, that a sword will pierce her heart, that her heart will be broken because of this sweet boy child.

I don't know what is comforting about this sword, except maybe it's that we know the sword is real--that hearts get broken and babies die and far too much attention is paid to lists. And since this reality isn't conveniently glossed over in the story, it makes the story that much more real and true and life-giving. As Frederich Buechner says, before the gospel is good news, it is just news, the truth about the way things are.

I do hope that however things are in your world right now, whatever the state of your list and your heart, that some Christmas joy has broken in. It may be blazing like a winter sun after an ice storm, or may be quiet like the faded light of a winter's eve, but Zechariah foretold its arrival.

By the the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Luke 1:78-79   

Merry Christmas from Matt, Monte, Finn and Willa


Liese said...

How you warm the heart, feed the soul, and bring JOY along with truth via grace!!

Blessings, dear ones in Hong Kong!

MooreMama said...

You guys look beautiful. Merry Christmas, and Happy Days.

Sonja Likumahuwa said...

What a gorgeous photo...beautiful family. Happy new year and hello to you all. ~Sonja