Christmas day has passed. Most of the world is back to work and the hustle and bustle of Christmas has transitioned to the busy, mundane of our reality. The shepherds left Christmas Day rejoicing and were forever changed the night a little baby was born–God with us. They left the glory of Christmas and embarked on a new adventure. Everything looked different after an encounter with Jesus.  For most of us, our encounter with Jesus was a wonderful remembrance of  His love, mercy, and faithfulness in our lives.  We are watching our older children, grandchildren, and loved ones with enough memories to fill a library.

I remember when…

Thank you Jesus for…

As we prepared our hearts for Christmas morning, we watched a DVD of Louie Giglio called The Twelve Words of Christmas.

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The message rang true. Life is forever changing, chaotic at times, and filled with struggle. No one can escape it. Jesus was born on the night of Mary and Joseph’s most complicated and chaotic day. Tax day. It was no ordinary tax day. Mary had to ride a donkey miles from her home, family, and midwife. To make matters worse, when the baby was due there was no suitable dwelling place for her to give birth.

Make it personal. You are in labor far from home, and you are on the side of the road with no cell, no way to get in touch with your doctor, or mom, who was going to help you in the birthing room. This is not how you planned your miraculous birth with your first-born child. Regardless of all your hopes and dreams, the baby is coming. So there in the cold of the night with just you and your husband, a swaddling cloth, and some animals, you give birth.

Louie reminded us in his message that 400 years had passed and the people “had not heard from God”. 400 years of silent treatment. Was God mad? On vacation? Disappointed in us? He chose the cry of a baby in the midst of insanity to change the world. A small, vulnerable, crying baby broke the silence.

He met us right where we are in the midst of our crazy. I’ve spent most of my days trying to separate crazy from God’s plan. If it’s crazy, I must be doing something wrong, or someone else’s crazy is making me crazy. I think God sent the most vulnerable way to break silence and provide redemption to remind us of our vulnerability and need for Him. He became flesh and dwelt among us.  He gets you, your tears, your cries.

How do we live?

Christmas day, around 1:00 a.m., my husband and I talked about some things going on in our personal lives, and I began to cry tears of confusion. I asked him, “Are we going to make it through this?” He gave me his Christmas cards to read:

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“In this season, we reflect on God’s grace and the great gift that He has given us.  As we celebrate the birth of Christ, we must also celebrate the journeys. Many made a sojourn to meet Christ.  Angels came from heaven to announce the Savior’s coming and His arrival.  Mary and Joseph traveled many miles to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. Wise men traveled from the east guided by a star…and shepherds left the fields for Bethlehem, spurred on by their desire to see what the Lord’s angels had told them about.  There was labor involved and effort needed to continue the trek…”

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“…But it was worth it! Each voyager was part of God’s plan and was able to see God’s promises revealed to the world! As we seek God’s plan for our lives…as we journey toward the promises that He has revealed to us…the voyage may seem long, with labor and effort needed….and it may not be easy…

BUT IT IS WORTH IT!

I love you, my Anna. I’m glad to be on the journey with you…

Merry Christmas

Love, Parish.”

I can’t separate the suffering and crazy. It’s part of the God story, and it is worth it.

How do we live?

“If the word of God is the first thing I give my heart and mind to, I see everything as under the control of my all–good, all-powerful, and all-loving heavenly Father.” Sheila Walsh

I read this quote in a devotional and realized the truth and profound implications for our lives.

Be still and know that He is God, and He is in control of your messy life. God is crazy in love with you. Dear friend and reader, we are connected by our love for Jesus and our messy lives. Please know that as I am writing this, I am praying for you. Praying that you don’t see your messy life as failure, punishment, or absence of God. I’m praying that God is present, and His arms are holding you. He loves you. As the shepherds left rejoicing because “It was just as the angel said….”, know that God’s promises “have already been said” in your life. He is with you.

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