‘Tis the season for remembrance, family, fun, gift-giving… and extreme busyness. Sarah and I had our plans in place for a while for this Christmas season. We are hosting the family meal on Christmas Day (British style), and with presents purchased, parties planned and house decorated, we were feeling quite ready for the day and the days leading up to Christmas. But being ready is not an immunity to changed plans. Sarah’s mum finally got something passed through her insurance that will have her and Jim out of town from before Christmas to after New Year. In case you missed it, Jim is my father-in-law, friend and pastor. Lynn is my mother-in-law and friend and general “saver-of-the-day” when Sarah and I are in too deep and need some help. We love and esteem these people so much, and to have them gone during the Christmas holidays is hard in so many ways, even though it is for a really great reason.
Add to the familial disruption and loss that I find myself responsible for Christmas Eve service, Sunday service the day after Christmas and the service the day after New Year’s Day. That’s a sudden influx of work and preparation, slap-bang in the middle of an already busy time.
I am tempted to just start freaking out.
But when I got home last night, as Sarah and I were praying, I realized that this sense of chaos is not foreign to the season of advent. Mary and Joseph had to take a roadtrip with Mary heavily pregnant, carrying the unborn Son of God. For the census. Meanwhile, a crazy despot ruled locally who would attempt to kill Jesus by wiping out all infant males, and Joseph is warned to hot-tail it out of there to Egypt. More roadtrip, more displacement, more fear. And all this after being visited by shepherds and foreign magi. It isn’t exactly what I would consider peace.
But advent is a celebration of the Prince of Peace. Bursting through the mess, the mire, the confusion and strife comes our God and Savior, Jesus, born a helpless baby into impoverished circumstance. The angels come and say, “Do not fear!” and so I make a choice. I choose peace in my time of trial. I choose hope when I want to sink into myself. This little guy will be my perfect reminder that I am truly in the season of advent.