Today—Christmas Day—I was supposed to host a crowd of twenty friends and family in my home for brunch. But, fever and coughs struck my kids one by one. And one by one, I had to call our guests to cancel our Christmas plans.
The food was bought. The house was decorated. And the gifts were even wrapped and set proudly under the tree. I had made my list and had checked it twice. I thought I was ready.
But my kids’ unexpected sicknesses overwhelmed my big expectations. And all of my well-thought-out plans seemed to fall apart and crash down around me like the Griswold’s family Christmas tree.
Disappointing times like these remind me that Christmas is not about the feasting, the gifts, or the games. It’s not about the decorations or the matching pajamas. Or even the adorable decorated Christmas cookies (which I love.)
Christmas is about welcoming into our hearts a tiny, fragile baby sent by God to save this messed up, fallen world from ourselves. He’s the Prince of Peace, all-human and yet, all-God, sent to live with us and teach us how to live.
God is teaching me that life’s letdowns are open-door opportunities to welcome Christ into my mess. And right there, in the midst of my chaos, He will show up, as promised, with His joy and peace.
Today, as I set the table for our small family breakfast, I did something I’d never done before. I set out an extra seat—for Jesus. Because I wanted—needed—Him to show up today with His Presence.
And someway, when we welcome Him and the peace He brings into our homes, He makes all things beautiful, even a house full of sick kids and cancelled plans. True peace is constant surrender—His ways over our own.
This Christmas and every Christmas hereafter, Christ dwelling with us—and in us—is the only gift we truly need.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14