Norman or Jesus?

I wanted this post to be spot-on Christmas. All glittery and snowy and cinnamon touched. After all, it’s December, people are hauling trees home to decorate, families are smiling cheesy in front of cameras, and the neighbors blowing up a giant snow-globe to bobble in the front yard. We had snow. But it melted. But this is northern Michigan, it could snow at any given sneeze. Yeah. I was planning to write about family traditions, and recipes, and how to win “best hostess”. Or something along those lines.

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But I’ve been jerked into an about face.

I’ll admit, the part of me that missed Christmas last year because of our family circumstances was pushing me to overdue this years festivities. To be some catalog perfect mother with everything spit-spot and polished and organized and Norman Rockwelled right into a Hallmark card!

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But the truth is, it’s December 6, and I’m writing this from my baby’s hospital room. The only thing perfect so far is, well, nothing. I have 18 days to figure out how to create something for my kids to remember. 18 days to reach out and holiday touch family and friends. 18 days to menu plan, Christmas bake, grocery shop, and clean the kitchen 54 more times. I have 17 nights to watch the moon rise and throw it’s beams across the painted floors and wonder how.

The panic was setting in. The weight was laying heavy on the pillow at night. The ideal nearly had me undone.

Then the baby’s fever began to climb and his breathing rattled and I woke up to a very real life.
An about face to a babe in a hospital bed and suddenly all the fancy gifts simplified.

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This is a season about another babe birthed by a young girl and fathered by GOD! And no matter how you tell that Christmas story, there’s no way to get around the humble quiet beginning. The stripped down stable, the weathered stall, the forked hay piled in a feeding trough. There was NOTHING shimmering or bells jingling. And yet, *sigh*, that’s what I was planning to make this holiday all about.

Please don’t misunderstand, there’s nothing wrong with decorating and baking and filling the house with Christmas carols and smelling candles. But if you don’t take a moment (or more) to read Jesus Christs’ story at least once, or reflect on the real birth of pain and mess all over cattle hay. If you haven’t yet strained to hear Mary gasp for breath or hear Joseph’s heart pounding over the near panic of the whole scene. And if you’ve forgotten what it’s like to stare at a newborn so long you put a crick in your neck, then this is the season to do that.

There was raw pain for two newlyweds that Christmas night, and there was raw pain for a Savior whose human body hung on a very humble cross to “save a wretch like me”. Let’s not get lost in the catalog’s and credit cards. Instead, let’s get lost in the birth of new babies. In the building of families. In the carols sung in the heart when love finds us. Cause that love? That’s from Him. Him whose birth the angels sang.

Are you struggling to see Him through the mess of tissue paper and tinsel? Are you feeling the hurry grabbing you by the throat? What ways are you slowing this season to take time to kneel before the stable? Share with us?

In His pure newborn name, Jesus,

~kathy


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