Christmas and children go together like a partridge in a pear tree. Okay, that comparison is trite, but you know what I mean. When you think of Christmas, your first images probably involve children – whether it’s the Christ child resting peacefully in the manger or your children fighting over who gets to put the angel on top of your Christmas tree. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without children. As my children grow older, I have to admit I miss the craziness that characterized our Christmases years ago. I believe there can be magic in the messiness of Christmas.
The first Christmas, after all, was extremely messy! There were barn animals. There was hay. There were barn animal droppings in the hay. As bad as our house looked after Christmas morning, it never looked or smelled like that first Christmas. And to think that Jesus chose to enter into all that mess and made it his home. Could it be that Jesus still wants to enter our mess this Christmas? I believe Jesus is just at home in a crazy Christmas as he is in the peaceful scenes we see on Christmas cards. Isn’t this good news for us? As we prepare our homes and our hearts for the advent—or arrival—of Christ, we don’t need to stress out over our imperfection.
When angels appeared to the shepherds on that first Christmas, their first reaction was stress and fear. That is understandable when the imperfect comes face-to-face with the holy. However, the angel reassured them that fear is not the correct response. Luke 2:10-11 (NLT) records that glorious message. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” Christmas is about the coming of perfect love. Maybe our response this Christmas should be like the shepherds, who ran to Jesus and his perfect love.
In December, my church's children’s ministry will be focusing on the environment of Faith Community. This environment, from Michelle Anthony’s Spiritual Parenting book, highlights that God’s family cares for each other and worships God together. God designed us to live in community and to experience Him in ways that can only happen when we gather together. Children are a huge part of my Faith Community and we celebrate all the craziness they bring to our lives.
To help you prepare for the celebration of Advent check out the latest edition of HomeFront Monthly Magazine which is filled with activities for your family. The challenge is not to allow these ideas to overwhelm you with more things to do, but to simply pick and choose a few things that your family would enjoy. The goal is not to create the perfect Christmas – for there never has been one – but to create memories and moments that invite Jesus into your mess.
All of us at Tadpole Tails wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! As you celebrate with your children I am sure you will have your share of craziness and messiness. In the midst of all this, I pray that you will also experience the peace, joy, and hope Jesus offers us. Let the prayer of the Apostle Paul, recorded in Romans 15:13 (NLT), become your prayer this Christmas: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”