As Tom and I processed the next few weeks, we were working out our timing so each of us would have holiday time with our families. He and Pam are gone to Kansas City this weekend for their Christmas there, Janet and I leave after services here to pick up her aunt in Oklahoma before spending time with her family in Lubbock.
Tom said, “It looks like you might be really short on Sunday. A lot of people will be traveling this weekend.”
That is often the case around the holiday time. Families coming in and out, efforts made to prioritize the relationships. For many this is a joyous time of the year.
No doubt, for some Christmas time is a sad time, another Blue Christmas. Some will push through a holiday as others celebrate, but the grief of loss is too great for them. For others it will be the painful memories of times when family was not a safe place and gatherings like these refresh the pain and renew the injuries. For still more it is a reminder of loneliness or estrangement, rather than family or celebration.
It seems our world revolves around such dichotomies. Celebration and grief, joy and sorrow, or happiness and anguish. It reminds me of the brokenness of this life. Designed by a God who called it very good, sin has ravaged our planet spreading ruin and despair.
Thousands of years ago God came, not insulated by powerful angels with flaming swords on a fire breathing steed to slay evil. He did not arrive into a family with all the advantages of wealth, power and influence.
No, God came in the most vulnerable of positions, born to the ordinary, into a community of the average, in the midst of the plainest of circumstances. Jesus, God with us, entered the world in an out of the way place, in humble circumstances. No doubt the host of heaven peered over the observation wall, noses pressed to the glass, in wonder of what was to come.
His mother, a young girl of tender age was not spared the trauma of birth. His father would have acutely felt the burden of caring for a new son, with the additional responsibility of knowing it was God’s son. But no golden ticket was given the family, the way would be filled with Herods, Pilates, and the opposition.
The joy of his birth juxtaposed against the reality of the cross. It seems the brokenness would only be repaired by a God who could be vulnerable. That is the Good News.