Dividing the holiday landscape up into two separate paths in the first place is one way in which we set ourselves up. What if we simply saw reality as it is? What if we surrendered and let go of our expectations of how we think the holiday season is supposed to be and instead we embraced our experience just as it is. What if, along side our efforts to deepen our spiritual lives, we at the same time accepted ourselves just as we are?
Christ is to be found in the mess and through the mess. Things really are simply the way they are. And thinking that they are supposed to be any different, may be an enticing thought, but is not likely to take us very far. In fact, taking that road any distance at all will get us very lost. Remember, Jesus was not born in the Bethlehem Hilton. He was born in a crummy stable that the reeked of animal excrement. Although Christmas cards can whitewash that fact and make it quaint and cozy, it was not. It was, in fact, the least likely place in the world for our Lord to be born. But perhaps, so too are we…
The message for which we prepare during this season of Advent is not that Christ will come when we finally get more spiritual and when we get our lives in order. He is coming right now, and he will be present in our lives just as they are. He is no stranger to mess, to pain, to suffering, or to any of the other dark and difficult expressions of the human condition.
The bottom line is this: Christ is not coming for some future time in your life—a time when you might be more spiritual, more worthy, or more ready. He desires to be born in you right now. He desires to be born in your life just as it is.