But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 (NIV)
It’s Christmas. How ya doing? Does this season find you gathered round the fireplace, chestnuts roasting, snow falling, sipping eggnog as Bing Crosby sings the promise of loved ones coming home?
Yeah, me neither.
Cause, Amazon is calling.
And there’s wrapping, cleaning, traveling, cooking, entertaining and a thousand other details that threaten to push us right over the threshold of sound judgement. (read more…)
And if the details don’t get us, the dysfunctional family interactions certainly will.
Yep, Christmas, in all its hype, creates the perfect backdrop for relational tensions to run amuck.
And sometimes the only thing roasting around here is mama’s temper.
(Is roasting chestnuts even a thing anymore?)
Regardless, there’s a lot of “doing” to be done this time of year. And most of it is fun, festive, and frolicky.
However, it’s not the doing, but the over-doing that leaves me undone.
You know, when you’ve gotten to the point of punching air with a fist full of frenzy?
Yeah, that’s usually right when the season says “and cue family drama”.
Every stinkin Christmas.
So, what is it about this polarizing holiday that brings out both the best and worst in us?
We’ve all got’em.
And some of us can’t help but to project them onto those around us.
Contrasting expectations can lead to some strained interactions. (right?)
So we run through this season with our never ending tasks, frantically trying to manage all the needs, for all our people.
At some depleted point, our peace, warmth and merriment begins to buckle as our holiday becomes a tug-o-war over opinions and preferences.
Honestly, we can act a bit donkey-ish.
And nothing quite says “come Messiah” like a bunch of disgruntled, tinsel covered donkeys.
Guess what… it’s okay. Jesus knows.
He was born into a world of expectation.
And boy did he throw those first century folks for a loop when he didn’t show up as a conquering warrior, a reigning king, or powerful politician.
A refugee baby.
That is how the messiah entered this world, answering to no expectation but the Father’s.
And that is how He lived the entirety of His life… focused on the expectation of ONE.
Scripture reports that Jesus encountered more than His share of donkeys along the way.
Despite constant friction, not once did He allow the expectations of others to shift his focus.
(Oh, if I only knew how)
Yep, that first Christmas was born of conflict, so why would it be any different today?
Folks, I cannot solve the problem of conflicting expectations, nor can I mend all the relational disharmony that so often surfaces this time of year.
But, I can encourage us to simplify the season. Perhaps if we expend less of ourselves on the glittery non-essentials, then we would have a little more patience, heart and understanding when expectations poke, plans change, and people act like donkeys.
Cause the good news is still the good news.
And sometimes it takes a Messiah to sort through the relational messes we make.
(and yes, Jesus loves the donkeys too.)
As we move into the New Year, what can we intentionally leave behind or simplify in order to make a little more space for what matters most…the good news.