Maybe I shouldn’t have taken that quick glance at Facebook.
At that post by the mom who has all her Christmas shopping done, and there were gingerbread cookies baking in the oven, and she managed to sneak out to Starbucks and was now pleasantly enjoying her Peppermint Mocha while she waited for the timer to ding. Oh, and her kids were the ones all smiling in the Christmas card that wasn’t all blurry and was sent in the mail last week.
And down I went scrolling through complaints and laundry lists of griping about the weather and the post office and those popcorn kernels that get stuck in your teeth.
The two newborn babies I got to see from afar redeemed my time just a bit.
But I couldn’t help but think that here we are all boastful or complaining – two different sides to the same coin. And maybe Ms. Peppermint Mocha Mommy had a screaming child in the background, or maybe the gingerbread cookies got burnt because the battery on the timer died (ask me how I know), or maybe this was her only two point five minutes of bliss in the last week and I simply needed to rejoice with her. And Ms. Popcorn in Teeth Mommy!? Maybe she was going on four hours of broken sleep and hadn’t communicated with someone over three feet tall for the past two weeks since her husband was deployed – and, well, that’s all she could think of to type after attempting to string popcorn garland for their Christmas tree only to end up devouring the kernels when she didn’t have the energy to drag herself and the little ones along with her to the store for groceries.
Maybe we’re all just trying to hold on through the beauty, the glory, the wonder, the chaos, the tangled up mess of it all.
And so here I sit wondering if I am not the only mommy that feels like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree!? I’m fragile and frail and trying to raise my arms to the King. Yet with one glistening ornament, I bend and I break from the weight of just one small thing.
Though adorned with food-color-stained hands and embellished with an extra amount of glitter on face, on hair, in ears – the mothering, the feeding, the disciplining, the cleaning, the teaching, the loving – all continue and ring louder in my ears.
There’s giving and thankfulness and sharing and obedience to-not-touch-that-enticingly-beautiful-ornament-on-the-tree to be taught. And although always feeling a few steps behind, deep down there’s a longing, longing, longing to NOT make it all about the presents and the tree, but instead about the greatest gift of all – the baby who grew to one day die on a tree.
And maybe that’s where the tangles of my heart get pulled a bit tighter, for I truly want Him to shine the brightest. Yet in so many ways, if I am honest, I still see Jesus as a little perfectly wrapped baby in a manger with the cutest cows and donkeys gazing lovingly on.
There’s no doubt that the night Jesus was born was a beautiful, holy, miraculous night.
A night full of wonder and glory and brilliant adoration.
A night like none other.
Where a tired, young mother having traveled for days, found no place to rest for the birth of her baby.
Where the Christ child, the King of kings, the Son of God – was born – God became man. Laid not on a throne or a comfortable cradle, but a trough that had been made for the animals.
Where angels lit up the night out in a field, proclaiming the greatest news ever – that a Savior was born who came to change this world forever.
Where lowly shepherds, the outcasts of the day, came to the manger and knelt and bowed down. They adored Him and they praised Him as they went on their way.
If I take a look closer, past the storybook pictures- the intricate, perplexing details of that night, seem to be twisted backwards and inside out. The sights and the sounds and the smells, many could not have been pleasant. Yet God showed us in the most precious way, that this little baby wrapped up in cloth was truly “God with us.”
Amidst the darkness and the mess and the conundrum He came – to the stinky, tattered, broken, hurting, tired, and shamed.
And the beauty of the story is that it is not finished yet. It has not come to an end. And you and I are a part of it.
The baby – He grew. He lived. He died. He rose. He reigns. He saves. He is God with us still today.
God became man, an infant born to die, so that He might save us.
So I come though tired and weary, when things just don’t seem right, and choose as Mary, to serve, love, obey, and bless.
Me, through my broken, tangled up mess. My glitter covered hair. Grasping sticky little fingers. Through squabbles, real life, brokenness and wonder. I come as the shepherds, with little ones in tow, to fall at the feet of the King born in a stable.
And I celebrate will the angels as loudly and as gloriously as I possibly can, proclaiming the Good News to all who will listen.
Waiting in line at the store for the gift that will bless… Taking time out of our day to sing of His goodness… Working out the squabbles and hurts of the day… Trying not to rush too fast to the rehearsal for the Christmas play… Picking up pine needles that fall from the tree… Untangling and finally hanging lights for all to see… Learning when it is good to say “yes”… Realizing when saying “no” is best… Savoring the time with glitter and glue… Making ornaments telling of the Good News… Living… Following… Going about our day… Worshipping… Crumbling… Falling at His feet… Each moment becoming an opportunity to display honor to the One, who as a lowly babe, proved God came to save and He is with us still today.
Me as a “Charlie Brown Christmas tree” with the sparkle of tinsel in between my toes, a humble expression of how a tiny little baby has touched my life forever.