As I sit here in the sun, I am surrounded by the trappings of it all. Boxes half-empty. Bags pulled from the attic. Tiny tufts of pink insulation that traveled down and lie lifeless on the floor. The tree is up and lights are strung and the mounds of decorations are ready to be placed. I know it will all look lovely but for now it is just a mess.
Oddly though, nothing in this mess has a thing to do with Christmas. Except... possibly... the mess itself. Because the truth is that a stable is an awfully messy place to birth your baby boy. And Mary and Joseph's lives... oh, their young and faithful lives... quickly became a mess, as well. When I spend these minutes thinking about it all... I realize perhaps I have misunderstood faith in more ways than one. Because sometimes we think that being faithful will make our lives organized, shiny and neat. That the right of it will clear the wrong of the world. And yet, The One we seek to be faithful to came into the world in a way that created chaos in His loving parent's lives.
They were faithful and God still led them into a situation beyond what they could comprehend.
They were faithful and God still called them to do a job they felt inadequate to do.
They were faithful and God still allowed them to feel judged by the world around them.
They were faithful...
It had to feel like a mess. A holy, purposeful, blessed and confusing mess.
And yet, all they had to do was trust. Trust and walk. Because some messes are not so easily cleaned. And some cannot and should not be cleaned at all.
So Mary and Joseph settled into their mess and embraced their boy and did what felt impossible to them. They raised The One who would save us all. They wiped His tears and met His needs until He grew into who He always was... The One who would wipe my tears, and yours... and meet my needs, and yours...
I think there is nothing neat about faith. It is, instead, a willingness to trust that even in the chaos, we are not alone. It is, instead, trusting that somehow His Hand will uncover the lovely beneath.