The less than perfect Christmas

Last week I was down at the shops buying some Christmas wrapping paper. I paid for it at the till and the assistant looked at me and she said, “I see you`re typical bloke, leaving it all to the last minute again”. And we both laughed; except I didn’t find it all that funny really because for me, THIS was my definition of being `organised`. I was thinking to myself, “I`m usually much later than this”.

Anyway I hope all your arrangements and present buying have gone all right and that now you can really enjoy the festivities- and thanks if you`re one of those who`ll be working today. But if you get a moment to catch your breath after what we call the Christmas rush do try to keep a sense of humour and don`t worry if things don`t turn out quite as perfect as you wished.

That might sound an odd thing to say but it seems to me that this time of year is just overloaded with expectations and there`s such a lot of pressure to play `happy families` and to get Christmas `just right` whatever that means. But underneath it all we know that life`s just not quite like that is it?. I mean it isn`t a fairy tale and none of our relationships are perfect are they?

That`s why I find the Christmas story so encouraging because it`s got this sense mild chaos about it. You know, there`s a sort of making it up as you go along feeling to it. I mean there`s Mary and Joseph`s crashed wedding plans; an official notice to go back to the family home and sort out your taxes. Oh and there was a baby on the way and they couldn`t even find a bed for the night. But the point is that this is where God chose to show up. Jesus was born not when everything was perfect. Not when life was all organised and sorted. No, he put in an appearance in the middle of what could only be described as a bit of a mess.

I really like the nickname the Gospel writers give to Jesus. They call him `Emmanuel`. It`s a name that just means `God is with us`. You see I don`t think God promises us a particularly tidy life; and perhaps you`re thinking “Too right!” But he does promise us a full one. He promises to be with us. He doesn`t promise to tidy things up but to help us see how rich life can be when we let him teach us what it means to care, to forgive and serve one another.

May Jesus- `God with us` be there to bless you and your loved ones today. Happy Christmas!

`Crackers with Yakkers` Lakeland Radio Christmas Morning 2013

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