If you have spoken to me recently for any amount of time... you probably noticed I seemed a little flustered. A little bit out of sorts. Not... really all put together. A bit of a mess.
B keeps calling me a 'hot mess' and while I know she says it with love in her heart... the truth stings a little. I AM a mess. I can't get it together, you guys! I used to be a pretty level-headed person of average sanity. Excitable, yes, but generally in control of myself in most situations.
These days... there is no control whatsoever.
My house is a mess, I can't keep it clean, laundry and dishes have taken over. I am over-committed, and I am bored with not enough to do. I am frustrated and restless and unfulfilled. My job is frustrating. My husband is frustrating-- and try as I might I just can't figure him out, or figure out how we can peacefully and happily live under the same roof. And here's the kicker-- I rarely see the man! We have approximately 1.5 hours a day together and still can't figure out how to communicate our needs and expectations in a way the other can understand. I don't feel like I am necessary or appreciated at work. Not feeling necessary or effective at my church. Things I think are important that I attempt to make happen just kind of fall apart. Don't know if that's ALL my fault, or other forces or what... but it seems everything I touch is a mess. My whole life just feels like a train wreck right now. It's a complete and utter mess I can't sort out.
And for the past three or four months, that phrase has come to define my life and dominate my thoughts-- I can't shake it-- MY LIFE IS A MESS.
So then I am at church on Sunday and D is talking about Christmas cards and how we like the pretty ones with pictures of the holy family looking clean and happy, maybe with a soft halo and a sprinkle of glitter on their snow white garments... pretty, uncomplicated, clean. That's how I like my Christmas cards, how I like my Christmas decor, and how I would really appreciate my life... So I am nodding along as D is talking because I like where I think this is headed... we are going to hear about the peace and simplicity of the season... and my mind is drifting thinking that yeah, I need to hear this...
But that's not what he was talking about at all, he says "...when in actuality, that first Christmas was MESSY. For everyone involved."
WAIT--What? But my focus zeroed in immediately. It doesn't seem incredibly profound but just hearing those words I loathe that have become a description of myself being used to describe the greatest miracle to ever happen to mankind? Give me a moment to process--
But he plowed ahead describing what mess a young man Joseph was in because of it-- the hurt, the scandal, the shame and ridicule and whispers. Same thing for a young woman named Mary who finds herself pregnant, and knows she could be put to death, or best case scenario will be a single mother forced to prostitution just to keep herself and her child alive. And... a baby who is actually the all powerful God who created the universe that chose to come to us with all the power of an infant, born in a nasty smelly barn, and grow up a boy of questionable parentage, facing ridicule and whispers... and eventually the most shameful and painful death anyone could come up with.
Let me give you a moment to take that in--
You good? Great, moving on...
And I thought MY life was a wreck. And I know, I know, maybe you've heard the story, and the gruesome details before and this is not shocking to you. I am pretty sure I have-- but it just hit me HARD this season. I just kept thinking-- WHY? Why? why? I don't get it. I believe the story to be true, but why would it happen like that? Why did all powerful God of the universe choose to come in all the dirt and mess one situation could possibly contain? It makes no sense.
But it does... because we were told about him, before he ever came:
The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means 'God is with us'). Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)
Hmmmm... Immanuel: God with us. Not God made us, God likes us, or God knows all about us (which are all true... you know) But God with us. He chose to be with us-- one of us-- messy like us. All powerful God chose to enter our mess to be with us... so that he could go through what we do, experience our pain, hurt, confusion, frustration, anger, embarrassment, shame, hunger, communication issues, excitement, happiness... MESSINESS. He got into the mess of humanity because he loved us enough to experience life with us. The good, bad, and ugly parts of it.
Back to that question of why? Because he loves us. And chose to redeem us from the mess we've created at the cost of his own life.
God is with me, on my journey (like how I tie that in?), even on the messy days when my journey is taking me in circles. He didn't ask me to come to him, he came to me. To be with me. To endure the pain, hurt, confusion, frustration, anger, embarrassment, shame, hunger, communication issues, excitement, happiness and messiness with me.
Because he loves me. Even though I am a hot mess.
To be honest... I have spent a couple days chewing on this message. I didn't immediately make sense of it and make peace with it-- so to speak. I don't know if it was what D was trying to get across. I am not really eloquent, and I don't know if what I shared makes sense... but i have found a bit of peace in my train wreck of a life knowing that I have a God who understands, because he chose to be a part of it so he could love me through it... yes?
Hallelujah that we have a God that got messy with us on Christmas day two thousand-ish years ago, and continues to love and redeem our messes today. That's what I am celebrating this season...