My husband’s on the couch watching cat video’s on Youtube. One of my teenagers is nursing an injured hand, the result of punching the wall in anger after an exercise band sprang back and smacked him in the face. The other teenager is getting ready to head to the hospital with me to play some Christmas clarinet solos for the patients on the rehab unit. The dishwasher is humming. The sky is grey. The grass is dormant brown. The goats are chewing their cud and the chickens have found a place to lay eggs under the trailer stored by the chicken coop.
I enjoy perusing the images on Facebook and Instagram. All you guys look so stinkin’ cute in your matching jammies. But I don’t think I’m being cynical in saying that probably most of us, even the ones in cute jammies, don’t live such picturesque lives. Most of us, Christmas morning or not, live messy lives. We need beauty, we long for beauty. I think that’s at least in part why we post pretty pictures on social media. We display what we long for- a beautiful life! But when the clouds roll in grey, and the landscape is dead grass, and the chickens don’t lay eggs where they should, and the child punches a wall in anger… and many, many more circumstances that remind us life isn’t as it should be, what should we do? We could hide. We do hide. In sleep, passivity, wine, parties, people, business, movies, Netflix, video games, etc. But it never satisfies. It never fixes our mess. It never makes life beautiful like we long for it to be.
C.S. Lewis famously said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
I love holidays. I love special, set-aside days where I can do my best to make beauty reign in the midst of our mess. Christmas is my favorite holiday. The warm lights sparkling in the darkness. The comforting aroma of cinnamon, clove, fir and peppermint in the air. The colorful trees and decor. The pretty packages with names to and from. Christmas draws attention to the beauty I desire. Christmas draws my attention to another world.
Today I sat outside with my goats and chickens for a few minutes, reading the Magnificant. It was good to smell the aroma of alfalfa and see the goat droppings, and dirt and chicken poop everywhere while I read Mary’s beautiful words. We sterilize Christianity. Christ is not the glowing white child in a picture perfect bed of hay. Christ was the bloody infant born where the animals stay… and poop. Christ was the misunderstood teenage son of a misunderstood young woman and her misunderstood husband. He was the blugeoned man, hanging on a Roman cross saying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” And he is the resurrected Son of God, eyes aflame with passion for his people, bearing the scars of his love for us.
I long for beauty. I long for the peace Christ brings to fill the earth. I long for the day when he makes everything right. It may be Christmas, but the beauty of Christmas just reminds me that Advent isn’t really over. I’m still waiting.