Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Real Christmas

Note: I wrote this little post last Christmas but never posted it so you get to enjoy it this year instead. 

Years ago my mom sent a Fisher Price nativity set for the kids. They absolutely love it and wish I would take the "activity set" out of storage for longer than just Christmas time. (I figure its scarcity holds its charm, so it graces our living room from the end of November through the beginning of January.)

I'll admit to being a little neurotic about that nativity set. If one of the pieces is missing for more than a few minutes I start to fret that it has been relocated to a distant part of the house never to be seen again. I love that set and don't want any pieces lost. So I like it when it looks like this--everything arranged perfectly so I know at a glance that no pieces are missing.
Of course, this is occasionally problematic because it's a toy and toys really are meant to be played with. So recently I sat in the rocking chair nursing Emma, glanced over to see the nativity set looking like this, and heaved a sigh of resignation. I just had too much on my hands to worry about it.
Then I was struck by a thought: the current disarray of the nativity set was probably a lot more like what that first Christmas felt like. As much as we like to think and sing about sweet-smelling hay and fluffy white sheep, that's not very realistic. How did Mary feel giving birth miles from home amidst animals and their food and waste? No clean bed, no homey familiarity. I'm sure she craved a few more comforts than she enjoyed.                                                                                                            
Photo courtesy of LDS media library
And so it is with me right now. Since Emma's arrival I've become keenly aware of how much I crave order (over chaos) and peace (over the din of a houseful of noisy children). Right now my life doesn't contain enough order or peace. Perhaps Mary's didn't either. Perhaps the real beauty of that first Christmas is the fact that life doesn't offer us enough peace but Christ does. We find meaning in life as we find Christ and He helps us make order from chaos and peace from turbulence.

Life's joy isn't from having everything perfect. It's from finding Christ and the joy, peace, love, and light that He offers. That is why we rejoice in Christ every day and even more at Christmas.
Picture courtesy of LDS media library
Thank goodness for Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, the Light of the World, and our personal

Merry Christmas.

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