Life Doesn’t Stop For Christmas

Life doesn’t stop for Christmas.

The movies and stores paint Christmas as a wonderful, magical, time. We imagine it filled with family, friends, gifts, and goodies. And it can be. I don’t mean to be a downer.

But life doesn’t stop for Christmas.

There are expectations. Gifts to buy. Trees to decorate. Food to cook. Cookies to bake. If you are a parent there is the expectation of creating memories to last a lifetime. Who doesn’t want their grown children to say, “remember that Christmas when we were little…”

Even attempts to “keep the Christ in Christmas” can prove stressful. Suddenly our full lives have a whole list of “to-dos” added into an already busy mix. I found this great idea of a “Jesse Tree” as part of Advent this year. I had good intentions. (Check out what a Jesse Tree is here) We need to double and triple up some devotions this week to make it to the end before Christmas.

But life doesn’t stop for Christmas.

My Facebook feed is full of real life happening in the month of December:

  • I’ve seen a single mother loose everything except her two young children in a fire.
  • I’ve seen children in the hospital.
  • I’ve seen friends in car accidents.
  • I’ve seen mother dealing with being a single parent in a difficult situation.
  • I’ve seen police officers just doing their job, shot and killed.
  • I’ve seen friends dealing with their elderly parents, stressed with the choices that lie ahead for them.
  • I’ve seen adult children facing their first Christmas without their parents.

My job puts me in the position to answer numerous calls with desperate people on the other end of the line. Can you help with food? Can you help with the light bill. Can you help find presents for my children? Can you help me find a place to stay. We get these calls year round. They just increase in December as people with little try to make more. Some are truly in need, some may have overspent on presents and let things like the power bill slip by until that letter finally comes saying “pay, or all the Christmas lights go out.” Some may just be scammers. Sad, but true.

Life doesn’t stop for Christmas.

Life didn’t even stop for the very first Christmas, over 2000 years ago.

Mary was pregnant. And she wasn’t married. Not even remotely as accepted as that is now. Was she stressed? Did God give her a peace that passes all understanding? And Joseph, too?  And what about their families? Not an easy time.

And on top of that is was tax season. And it wasn’t as easy as filling out some 1040 forms online. A really pregnant Mary had to go with Joseph back to his hometown. I can’t imaging that was a comfortable trip.

If you’ve ever given birth, imagine that it was almost time, and instead of being at home (or in your preferred hospital suite) that you had to pack up and travel back to your husband’s hometown and give birth who knows where.

And when they got to where they were going, no one could (or would?) offer them a bed. Or even a corner of the floor in their living room.

For goodness sake! This poor extremely pregnant woman was sent to sleep with the animals. Were they in a barn? A cave? Depends on who you listen too. I just know that it doesn’t sound comfortable and certainly not what a first time mom has in mind for giving birth. Even a couple of thousand of years ago.

Had word got around? Were they already the talk of the town? “Hey, that Mary chick–she got pregnant and they aren’t even married yet!” Who’s letting that couple into the inn to stay? Nobody–that’s who. I’m sure Bethlehem was full of people, but really!

But all of these worldly circumstances didn’t stop Christmas from happening.

The Emmanuel, the Alpha and Omega, the Great I Am, made His way into our world to save us all in the middle of life happening.

So, Christmas isn’t about everything being perfect. It’s about remembering that life doesn’t have to be perfect to invite Jesus into your life. He’s ok with how your life is RIGHT NOW. Even if everyone around you thinks you are a mess, He’ll still show up. Life may not stop for Christmas, but when invite Christ to be with us, we are able to celebrate beyond our circumstances the awesome gift of Jesus Christ that was given to us so many Christmases ago.

A gift that we can still claim today.

A gift we NEED to claim today, and every day.

Because life doesn’t stop.

 

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