Sunday, December 7, 2014

when christmas finds us fragile

 with a few moves in the past few years, it didn't surprise me -- after all, things do tend to break.

most of our christmas ornaments and decorations did okay in our recent (annual) upheaval,
but we were bound to have at least a few casualties.
and this year, opening up the holiday crates, it was clear ... we did.

we can chalk up some of the breakage to our moving and some of it to just our normal mayhem. and of course there's always the few we lose each year because little hands are helping. we could do it ourselves and tell them to "stand clear" ... but that wouldn't be right.
easier, yes. right, no. 
heck, this year, i was the culprit carelessly crushing one of my very favorite ornaments in my hurry -- uugh.
it almost happens daily -- just this morning i found an ornament smashed on the fireplace hearth. it must have, unsuspectingly, rolled off the mantel in the middle of the night. poor thing.

it's what happens when we deal in the delicate.

and ornaments are one thing, but, isn't there a lot about christmas that can feel fragile?

no doubt, it's the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most vulnerable time.

there's nothing better than celebrating christmas when you're in that sweet spot of living. when it's all going grand and everyone's healthy and the children are all happy and the days are both merry and bright. nothing better!

but what about when life isn't going along quite like that?

what about those who have lost jobs or spouses or children or their health?
what about those who are broken and bruised and heavily burdened?

i think it's possible, christmas can feel not festive, but instead, more fragile.

maybe for some, it even seems smashed to smithereens like the ornaments in the bottom of our boxes. 

yes, even like that.

because life has a way of rolling us, unsuspectingly, off of high mantels and onto hard places.

and some years, when christmas comes, we find ourselves not in peace, but in pieces.

sitting here this morning, i'm thinking about the way Jesus came at christmas -- a newborn baby. fresh and fragile. this delicate deity born to a girl, fresh and fragile herself. a girl overwhelmed, unprepared, ill-equipped, vulnerable. probably even pretty darn scared.

can't you see her shaking arms as she transferred tiny babe to feeding trough?
maybe some motherly resistance to this crude-type cradle.
but maybe also a mix of relief on her face to put something so small into something so strong.
dirty, perhaps, but still solid and safe.

baby Jesus laid in a manger of wood. wee babe placed in a box built strong to endure oxen and ass. 
tender meets tough.
frail meets firm.
soft meets sturdy.

God come to His wooden cradle to become God on His wooden cross.

God in His birth and God in His death --- human. fragile. even broken.

but come.


come down from heaven to live amongst the smashed pieces of our sin-riddled world.
come down from the perfect right hand of God to this place where things are far from perfect or right and, let's face it, sometimes way out of hand.


He didn't have to.
i know i probably would have argued that one out with the Father -- (thanks, but no thanks).

but Jesus came.

and because of the cradle and because of the cross we have something strong to hold on to in the weakness of our frail living.

and for you --
overwhelmed mama, out of work man, rebellious child, hard-hearted husband, weary woman, lonely grandparent ...
for your pain and your problems.
for your diagnosis and your disaster.
for your fears and your failures.
for you. for me. for us. for all.

Jesus came.

and this Jesus who left a throne in heaven and came vulnerable in His humanity to the throes of earthly pain, understands our need for something solid in our suffering.

He not only understands it, but was willing to sacrifice Himself to be it.

come laid in wood 
and hung on wood 
that He would 
take our place 
and take our pain.

to be the thing which is both tender enough and tough enough for our tears.

mary laid Jesus in the rough cradle of wood and the angels rejoiced. for this humble place with this holy babe, held the strong Salvation of the world. and those angels, they knew it.

maybe this christmas you are feeling fragile.
{alone. angry. afraid. hurt. hopeless}.

my prayer this sunday morning for you dear one -- and for all of us -- is that in this christmas, we would keep our eyes on the cradle and on the cross. that in the fragile parts of living, our faith might find strength in His coming.

"I came that they might have life and have it abundantly." 
~ john 10:10

a little end note:
i started this blog post yesterday - saturday - and in the middle of my writing, the christmas tree fell over. yep. no reason. no one was in there. just toppled over. broken ornaments galore! talk about fragile. just had to share that hopefully for your amusement. =) 


Rebecca said...

So true, so good.

Laurie G said...

Needed this - thank you! So true.

Sammy said...

As always, love your posts!

Mom Jodes said...

Love this, love you, Dear Friend.

Laura said...

Wonderful post and so true. But sadly,I am having a fragile Christmas. I am trying so had to cling to hope and faith but when life constantly throws you curve balls it is hard. Please pray me!!!!