The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Christmas mess

It’s that messy time of year.

Try as I might, there is still a pile of half-finished Christmas cards waiting for attention on the bedroom floor. I hate it when people move; it is so inconvenient for me. I even discovered some of last year’s cards in the basket that were never sent because they were waiting for new addresses. I sent those friends two cards this year.

A massive invasion of snowmen are milling about, unsure if they feel at home on the counters and windowsills and tables and shelves and even the floor. Making matters worse, a battalion of tomten (Swedish Jul creatures) and Julbocken (straw horses) are jockeying for position and small skirmishes have broken out. Angels we have heard on high are on the piano and the end tables and flying through the air. Snowmen and tomten and angels need to get along, but there is an undercurrent of anxiety among them, not sure who should be occupying what territory. And I’m getting a little testy about all the stuff that has invaded my home.

It’s the morning after Christmas. It’s that messy time of year. Nothing is where it belongs. The good china is still out, the crystal goblets are awaiting their trip back into the box, and these infernal snowmen and tomten are everywhere. Christmas gifts clutter the family room, and that incessant bleating, quacking and chirping. Oh wait, we weren’t supposed to have those goats, chicks and ducks from the ELCA Good Gifts catalog delivered to the house first? Oops.

Jesus is asleep in the manger; Mary is passed out, exhausted; Joseph is kibitzing with the wise men; and the shepherds have returned to shuffling after sheep.

That messy time of year. Why make such a fuss?

Christmas. God with us. The face of God in our very presence. The stirring up of divine imagination has brought us to this — in our whimsical and sometimes misguided attempts to celebrate, we make a mess.

Most of all, I confess that my soul is a little messy. Dare I hope this year to believe again? This face of God alongside, within me? Is God with me? Dare I believe it? I am ready. I am ready to let Jesus take up new space in my heart and mind, and offer God a new, open spirit to fill with new life. More trust, deeper commitment and greater love. Make room in my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee. Amen.


Richard Burgie

Richard Burgie

Posted at 2:22 pm (U.S. Eastern) 12/26/2012

I loved the way you waded your way through the flood of Christmas 'overdo'. Thanks for the reminder of what the 'simple birth' means.

Wendy Gibbons

Wendy Gibbons

Posted at 1:11 pm (U.S. Eastern) 1/1/2013

This rings true for our home, too, except for the Swedish touch.  Thank you for sharing and helping put Christmas in perspective, and thank God for his coming to us as one of us.

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