As the story goes, many, many years ago, a teenager gave birth to a son in a stable.
The Christmas miracle.
When I was a little girl, I used to cry when the church sang “Away in a Manger.” My mother reminded me of this as we sat at my daughter’s Christmas pageant at school.
I thought it was terrible that God himself didn’t have a place to sleep! Growing up in a rural area, I knew a lot about farming. I had helped bale hay. I know how to feed and muck up after animals. I know the smells. Sheep aren’t always nice. Cows can kick. What if there were bugs in the hay? How did Mary not get an infection from the birth itself?
…and what if …just what if…He had been born different? What if Jesus had an extra chromosome? Or what if he couldn’t speak? What if he didn’t like the texture of the wood his earthly father taught him to work with?
As I thought through this, I realized that if he was different, he wouldn’t have taught us much.
He was perfect.
That, in and of itself, means that he loved everyone. He probably played with the little boy who sat on the playground afraid to play because he might trip. He hugged the little girl that hid her scars. He ran and played and never judged. He was never the bully. He never called the other kids names. The other moms were probably all “Oh, there’s Mary and Joe’s kid. Will he EVER stop touching everyone?” Did anyone bring her a casserole and tell her it was going to be OK?
Mary was the original special needs mom.
Her child was perfection in an imperfect world.
We live in a world that is so….overwhelming. And lately, this world is just almost too much to fathom. Friends, remember Mary when you have a bad day. Remember the birth in a stable. Remember the boy who was too perfect. And find the perfect in this world’s imperfection. As I type, Jack is attempting to cut with scissors. I use the word ‘attempting’ loosely. But, it’s my perfection for today.
This Christmas, I’m asking you to embrace love.
Love everyone. Love when you don’t want to. Love is the only way we can conquer the hate and ugly. Love is the only way to foster change.
Merry Christmas…from my blessedly imperfect world to yours.