I’ve been super excited to add to our Christmas activities this year as our daughter is old enough to understand it’s Jesus’ birthday, loves books, knows presents are coming, loves any sort of craft/baking/etc that we can do. We made an advent ‘Names of Jesus’ countdown paper chain, and we are reading tons of books from the library. The library has so many Christmas books, that I seriously think we’ll be reading Christmas books all through January.
But Advent can be kinda messy. It’s spent reading through one of our Christmas books, while simultaneously feeding the baby, giving more bread to the toddler, and trying to sneak in my own breakfast. It’s spent reading our nightly ‘Jesse Tree’ story while trying to keep the book out of a snotty toddlers hands. It’s spent explaining to a bawling preschooler that the reason you aren’t putting the shepherd out with the nativity set yet, is that she gets to look for him each morning along with our book/activity for the day. (yes, she really did have a come apart when she saw he was missing). At times, I wonder if it’s worth the work put in to celebrate Advent.
This Advent season is messy.
I spent this morning at a memorial service for a beloved mom of five, who lost her life to cancer. She lived her life fully to the end, and was not afraid to die because she knew Jesus was waiting for her. But she left behind her heartbroken husband of over 25 years. five children, and family and friends. Everyone was brought to tears by the touching eulogy her husband wrote and shared for her.
This Advent season is messy.
But, wasn’t Jesus’ “Advent season” messy too? He spent it in a cow’s feeding trough, with animals all around. Born in an animal shelter because no one had space for him. His party guests included the shepherds fresh from the field (like they probably smelled of sheep and field). In less than 2 years, he would have to flee for his life from the king right after receiving grand gifts from foreign travelers. Jesus knows all about ‘messy advents’. He came to earth to be in our mess. Jesus came to set people free from the mess of sin, and to restore all the broken messes of the past. He came to bring new life, and a hope that surpasses all the messes of this world. Jesus specializes in messes, and restoring messed up people.
So this advent season, whether you are in the middle of diaper changes, puke clean ups, and potty training, or whether you are reeling with difficult news that you never expected…remember that messes are Jesus’ specialty. He restores us from the messes of our past, and he walks us through the messes of our present. Advent is a season of waiting and anticipation. Anticipating Christmas with all its festivities, laughter, food and gifts. But an even greater anticipation of Jesus’ return to rescue us from our mess and take us to be with Him forever.
Advent can be messy……but Jesus specializes in redeeming broken messes.
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Rev. 22:20