Joy in the midst of the mess at Christmas

“The story of the first Christmas is the story of a series of completely unplanned, messy events – a surprise pregnancy, an unexpected journey that’s got to be made, a complete muddle over the hotel accommodation when you get there. Not exactly a perfect holiday.”

He went on: “We try to plan all this stuff and stay in charge, and too often (especially with advertisers singing in our ears the whole time) we think that unless we can cook the perfect dinner, plan the perfect wedding, organize the perfect Christmas, we somehow don’t really count or we can’t hold our heads up.”

But the Archbishop insisted God was “already there for you” and was not going to wait “until you’ve got everything sorted out perfectly”. He added: “I’m never sure whether to wish anyone a peaceful Christmas, because it hardly ever is. But I can wish you joy in the midst of the mess, and every blessing from the God of ordinary, untidy, surprising things.” – transcript of Archbishop Rowan on Radio Two’s Pause for Thought

Wise words that will strike a chord with many of us who are facing messy situations this Christmas, illness, death, family breakdown many situations that will mean that Christmas is a difficult period this year. But as Rowan points out the birth of Christ itself was messy – the Son of God who’s parent’s couldn’t find anywhere to stay, who had to make a long journey. And unlike the Christmas carols will have us believe, it was noisy (Silent night – yeah right, unless Mary had really good pain relief & Christ was born sedated), complicated and messy. This was the way that Christ entered the world, and as we know he had a fairly unpleasant and messy death. He always seemed to exist in the messy areas of life, where there was pain and sin, amongst the poor and those who needed him.

God, I believe, still exists most within the messiness of life – where he is most needed. So this Christmas, whatever you are facing know that Christ is there too, amongst the mess, the pain and complications of life. May you find some peace and some joy amongst the mess this festive season.


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