When I was little, I was known to be a snooper when it came to birthday or Christmas presents. I was just so darn excited to wait and be surprised. I had to know ahead of time, I couldn't wait for the surprise to be discovered in the fury of wrapping paper flying everywhere.
Thankfully as I got older, I grew out of my impatient present loving ways.
Advent is a time and season of waiting. There are many seasons in each of our lives that require patience in the waiting. Sometimes the waiting is easy and peaceful, and sometimes it feels like an impatient toddler just wanting to find and open their presents.
And amidst the wrapping presents, cooking, shopping, and sometimes stress of the season, what God really wants from each of us is something so simple. The real gift God wants from each of us this Christmas for to be invited into the mess of our lives. That image is something I have spent a lot of quiet time just thinking and reflecting on over the past four weeks of Advent.
Think about it. What do you give to the King of Heaven who was born in barn where animal poop and smells abound?
The invitation for Him to make his home in the mess of your own life. I know it sounds so simplistic and even cliche, but this Advent it has meant so much to me in a lot little ways.
Just imagine yourself leaning over the manger, looking at that cute, squishy little baby who oh by the way just happens to be God. And what do you give Him? The invitation ask Him into the broke, hurting messes that each of us carry, that many do not observe.
Invite Jesus this Christmas to make His home in the messy stuff of your life, just like His first bed was in a nasty, smelly old barn. We've all got "stuff". Whatever is abounding, invite Him into it: anger, resentment, sadness, hurt, pain, jealousy, fear, whatever it is. That's my Christmas gift to God this year, just asking Him to make His home in the messy stuff. And I think that those simple prayers and invitations into our hearts are the ones Jesus loves most. Because they are not fancy, but just raw, real prayers of the heart.
Yes finish the baking, tree trimming, wrapping of last minute presents, but sometime between now and Christmas day, take some time to be quiet and still. Invite Jesus into the mess. He can take it.
No matter the mess of our hearts or lives, it is not to big for the depth of His grace and love.