Have you ever had one of those days… weeks… years… when it all goes wrong? When your expectations are turned upside down. When your hopes seemed to have dissipated. When your plan, promotion, kids, school, degree… fill in the blank… goes wrong. Like, way wrong.
Confession: I have had one of those weeks.
It all went wrong. For starters (& on a lighter note), my beloved Christmas cards finally came in… so pixelated you can’t even make out our faces. Whelp, no Christmas cards this year and money wasted. My advent candles finally arrived (2 weeks late)… & don’t fit the advent wreath. Whelp, guess we aren’t lighting the advent candles this year as a family (unless of course we want to light the entire house on fire). & My really well-intentioned plan to be more “intentional” this advent season has practically disappeared, evolving into a massive “to do” list filled with gifts & planning & praying that somehow in the midst of this chaos, God would supply me with the massive amount of patience, love, and ENERGY I need to handle my 4 year old right now. & That’s just the surface level stuff…
The truth is… it all feels wrong.
It feels exhausting. & Confusing. & Well, off.
It feels like… what I imagine, the first Christmas, feeling like.
Mary, an engaged virgin, finds out she will soon conceive God’s son. That she will give birth not in her own home or town but instead, in a foreign, new, & completely unknown space. I image that felt wrong too. & Probably a little overwhelming & exhausting & confusing.
The truth is I fight… really I resist… all the things that consume my time during the Christmas season.
I fight the decorating.
I fight the massive amount of Christmas lists everyone needs from me.
I fight the traffic & stress & preparation that honestly feels like a consumeristic version of “finding joy through stuff” in the name of Jesus.
But then, God gently nudges my soul and reminds me to release the weight of desiring it to all go right.
To release the expectations.
Release the broken plans and hopes and desires this season…
& To somehow find a small, simple way to praise Him in the mess. To praise Him in the mess of the wrong. The mess of the pain. The mess of the confusion.
Every year it baffles me that I so desperately crave the simple but yet fill my soul with the extravagant.
I crave a simple, intentional Christmas focused around a season that reminds me of the nearness and closeness of God. A God who enters into creation out of pure love and humility. A God who chose the unlikely, unwanted, unexpected people to be a part of such a simple, yet profound story. I desperately crave a Christmas centered around that reality.
But perhaps, my “perfect-seeking” craving is the reminder I deeply needed to better embrace the day, weeks… years… when it all goes wrong.
To embrace my life (my Christmas)… as something that doesn’t need for it all to go right in order for it to be significant.
Perhaps, my numerous meltdowns in the “it all went wrong” moments are my soul’s gentle nudge that I may have forgotten the right. The good. The true.
How ironic is it that we celebrate, really we honor, the greatest moment in history when it all went wrong and somehow expect it all to go right while we’re celebrating?! God entering into creation and choosing people like Mary & Joseph, and the town of Bethlehem… that was all wrong.
The timing was wrong.
The people were wrong.
The place was wrong.
& The circumstances were all VERY wrong.
But see, what I am rediscovering is that “the wrong” was… “the plan.”
& Somehow, for me, remembering this VERY WRONG plan reminds me that even in my wrong I can find a right. I can search and seek and discover contentment in the mess of it all, knowing the mess is often where God reveals his greatest miracles. Oh how I need (& hate) embracing this reality, that…
The middle of the mess is often where God reveals His greatest miracle.
& That’s my prayer, in the middle of this very “wrong” mess.
That somehow in my (& maybe your) “wrong,” we can find a tiny miracle. A tiny right & good & true piece of God that helps us breathe a little deeper. Rest a little sounder. & Hope a little stronger this Christmas season. Because we remember, the tiniest (& most significant) of miracles was birthed in the greatest of “wrongs.”