Preparation: Too busy

Christmas, a time of stress.

All the preparations to make for Christmas, buying the perfect present, wrapping, sending, writing all the cards, sending. Then there’s the house to clean and decorate, and a tree to put up indoors. Then there’s all the festive food to buy and cook. All whilst holding down a full time job. I bet the TV chefs didn’t have to fit their preparations around seasonal overtime. You come home with all that to do and you are already too tired to do it.

Then there are the pre-Christmas parties. Yes you enjoy them, but they take up time in what is an already busy month. You want to rest but you have no time to rest. Christmas day is even worse. All that food, then cleaning up. Plus you have to try to find time for Church among the chaos. The next day is only a little better, Boxing day, more time visiting, meeting family members you have not seen for the whole year, and being reminded why you don’t usually see them. After all this it is nice to back to work the next day, it’s far more restful.

We want the perfect Christmas, but the perfect Christmas is a logistical nightmare.

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It was not much better over 2000 years ago.

We sing of sleeping in heavenly peace. But what peace was there? A bustling town with no room at the inn. A birth without anaesthetic and the new baby put in the animal feed trough. The cleanness of a hospital birth, forget it. And Mary worn out from travelling then worn out again from labour. She just wants to rest when some dirty farm workers arrive. All this is set in a country with an occupying army on the streets and a king, appointed by the oppressing invaders, who will stop at nothing if he thinks he is threatened. He has already killed his wife and son as he saw them as a threat. Soon Mary, her son and husband will be on the run, refugees. Heavenly peace will have to wait.

Christmas, even the first one, is a chaotic time. But in that first one God was at work in the chaos. God is incarnate, he has come to us Emmanuel, God is with us. That was God’s plan all along, to be with us mere humans and to have a relationship with us.

God meets us in chaos. In the first chapter of Genesis we hear that the Earth was without form and void. This is not the story of creation out of nothing, although that is elsewhere in the Bible. No the Genesis story starts with “without form and void”. Chaos. But even in the chaos God’s Spirit is hovering, God moves in the chaos of creation just as later he will move in the chaos in Bethlehem. Chaos is not a barrier to God. Now with mentioning the chaos of creation these Advent blogs have come full circle.

We want the perfect Christmas, but the perfect Christmas is a logistical nightmare.

So do not believe people who say you have to make time to meet in quiet with God. Christmas is far too busy for that. As you go about your preparations let God meet you in your chaos.

 

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