'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse..?Yeah right. Christmas has never been a quiet thing.
There's always so much to do,
friends to see,
presents to buy and then wrap,
work to do,
exams to revise for,
parties to go to,
advent calendars to open,
the tree to put up,
odd jumpers to wear,
secret santas to organise,
church to go to,
Accross England there are countless people who will be working on Christmas Day too, in busy pressurised environments, in hospitals, fire stations, railway works, hotels, taxis, nursing homes.
And around the world right now things aren't quiet either. There is the pain of the Glasgow bin lorry crash, another police shooting in America, tensions in North Korea over a film, unrest in Syria. The list goes on.
But, despite the image the (most factually inaccurate) carol, Away in a Manger, conjures up, the world Jesus entered into wasn't peace and calm and quiet. The occupying Roman force, demanding that the Jewish people register. A pregnant, unmarried mother receiving visions from an angel. Herod plotting and scheming mass infant murder. No safe place to give birth. You wouldn't really put the scene on a Christmas Card.
But it wasn't a mistake. God didn't arrive too early. He wasn't a little bit off with His timings. Because God chooses to identify with the mess and confusion and pain. He chooses to be part of this broken and dark world. He is the brightest light and chooses to step into the deepest darkness, not in an act of power and might, but in a person. As a baby. A crying, snotty, shrieking baby. God wants to be able to say, "I know what you're going through, I know how you feel." And the only way He can do that is by fully entering into the mess and busyness and confusion of a real human life. Hebrews 4:15 tells us that "we do not have a great high priest who is unable to emphathise".
Jesus didn't float through life on a cloud from heaven. He didn't start life in a palace or a hospital. He didn't finish life quietly and calmly.
And so this Christmas, in the busyness and mess and confusion, know that there is a God in heaven who knows what you're feeling. Know that light came into the darkness, looked it straight in the eye and didn't blink.
About the Author
Chris is rather average at most things.