We were driving into town for our granddaughter’s ballet recital when the call came. Less than three weeks until Christmas and his mother had suddenly died. His life is in pieces as he navigates toward some sort of new normal.
Just yesterday I exchanged texts with a friend. An affair has fractured her child’s marriage; her family is broken.
A young father we know is facing certain death unless he gets a heart transplant. This dear couple and their children are hanging onto a thread of hope this holiday season. His heart is literally broken.
I watched her grow up; she and my daughter were friends. Tomorrow she faces her first Christmas without her son, tragically killed in an accident. Her grief is palpable. Her world is shattered.
Maybe as you read this, you are overcome by your own broken places.
We lament. Of all times, why do these things have to happen at Christmas?
Tonight I stood next to my husband as we celebrated Christmas eve with our church family and I reflected on that first Christmas.
Mary and Joseph found a stall in the stable behind a local inn. We don’t know the details; maybe a midwife was summoned to assist with the birth. But when Jesus was born, he was wrapped in rags and laid in a borrowed manger. There was no room for him in the inn.
“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:6-7
As I thought about his meager beginning, I had a sort of epiphany. Fast forward about thirty-three years to the first Easter. After a brutal series of events, Jesus body was bruised and beaten (but not broken!). His garments had been gambled away by the soldiers. He hung naked on a wooden cross.
They laid his body in a borrowed tomb, and later he was wrapped in linen grave clothes that were not his own.
“Going to Pilate, he (Joseph) asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.” Luke 23:52-53
It was because of our brokenness that Jesus came.
He isn’t put off by our mess; he stepped from heaven into a filthy stable and was laid in a feeding trough for animals. The place was not fit for people and certainly not a king.
He specializes in brokenness; in fact, he will come and sit with us in the middle of it. Emmanuel. God with us.
Life has taught me that perfect days and good times can be risky and dangerous. When we achieve our notion of perfection, we don’t recognize our need for him.
But in the brokenness, we see it.
I am sorry if you are walking through a season of brokenness this Christmas. I’ve been there; my heart aches for you.
More, Jesus sees you. He came for you and this season of pain. Invite him in and know that he is fine with the mess.
I have to confess; this Christmas, I want to be broken enough to see my need for Jesus.
I want to be the stable, not the inn.
Merry Christmas, even if it’s broken…