When we think of a wonderful Christmas and Happy Holidays we typically are thinking of a Christmas that is bountiful with lots of presents – a Christmas that is filled with joyous family celebrations where everyone gets along – and a Christmas where we are safe and there are no tragedies to interrupt our Happy Holiday. When we see suffering throughout the world, it makes our dreams of the perfect Christmas seem superficial.
The imagination fueled by culture can never be fully realized, but the imagination inspired by the story of Christmas can. It’s not about perfect circumstances, it’s about the presence of God. Often circumstances are not perfect and there is nothing we can do about it.
Jesus can be present in a house that is full of Christmas gifts and in a house that is empty, just as Jesus can be absent in a house full of Christmas gifts or a house that is empty of most of what we would recognize as the evidence of a blessed Christmas.
The first Christmas was something that virtually no one imagined, even the players in the story. They found themselves in an awkward, unexpected and miraculous drama.
What are cultural expectations of the perfect Christmas? What does it look like?
What would be the perfect Christmas for you?
What might it be like if God were to breathe His presence on your Christmas gathering? Would it mean that there are no babies crying, the gravy turned out perfect, and the decorations were elegant?