For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given.
We wrap this day we call Christmas with ribbon and bright paper. We mark it off in red on our calendars and have high expectations for an extraordinary day.
Sometimes in doing this we miss the day all together.
The day Jesus was born was not wrapped in ribbon or marked in red on anybody’s calendar. Perhaps the real wonder of this day was that Son of God enter our world in such an ordinary way.
We might expect the Son of God to come as King and Conqueror. We might expect him to come in a terrifying storm or blazing fire.
But, instead, he came to us as an infant, naked and vulnerable. He came to us born to an inexperienced teenage girl who lived in a poor neighborhood. He came in need of a stranger’s kindness to shelter him. He came to us quietly, in a back room—unnoticed by all but a few.
We do not have to dress in our best, or prepare feasts, or sing loud songs, or give many gifts to remember the gift God gave to the world in Jesus. These celebrations can be joyous. They can be helpful ways of honoring this most remarkable story. But sometimes the busyness and noise, the stress and expectations of it all can distract us from the ordinary realities of this extraordinary story we celebrate. And it is often the ordinary realities that speak to us the most deeply.
Perhaps when the noise and glitter of this day are cleared away, we can let it be an ordinary day for a few minutes. We can kick off our shoes and take a deep breath and reflect in silence for a time. And perhaps in that space of time we can have a small celebration of the heart. We can remember God’s surprising, extraordinary gift to us, wrapped in such ordinary packaging. A child born. A son, given.
Lord, this is your day.
This Christmas day.
We have made of it a loud party
and a day of great expectations.
Sometimes I wonder why I can’t find you
in the ribbon and the wrappings.
Let this be an ordinary day
for a few minutes.
that you are a God of shocking surprises
wrapped in ordinary packaging.
Quiet me to enter the story
of the extraordinary gift you gave—
coming to us in a surprisingly
humble, ordinary way.