We hosted our small group Christmas party this past weekend. Because my wife and I consider ourselves to be reasonably “festive” we decided to pull out our special Christmas dishes for this Yuletide occasion. These dishes have been packed away since our move to Maryland 18 months ago. As we allowed them to see the light of day once again, my wife and I quickly discovered that the move was not kind to them. Stored in a box, wrapped in newspaper, put on a moving truck, taken off a moving truck, stored in a pole barn, taken out of the pole barn, put on another moving truck, and moved into our current storage closet … let’s just say all the action did not treat them well. Even though we did our best to wrap them and protect them, plates were cracked, handles were broken off of cups, bowls were shattered … what started out as merry excitement soon turned in to a merry mess.
As joyful and happy as this time of year can be for many of us, I know that joy and happiness is not a reality for everyone. For some, dreams have been shattered and life has become a mess. I know people struggling with their health. I know people who have lost their husbands or wives through divorce or separation. I know families that have been torn apart. I know parents who have lost children and children who have lost parents. I know men and women who have lost their jobs. As merry as this time of year is for some, for others it is lonely and it’s painful and it hurts.
If that is where you find yourself this Christmas season, can I simply offer you these words: God is willing to step in to your mess. I know those 9 words won’t necessarily take away the pain, but my prayer is that they will offer you hope.
One thing I know that is true of Jesus is that He’s not afraid of a mess. If He were, Christmas would never have happened. Spending eternity in the non-violence and tranquility of heaven did not make Him soft. If anything it reinforced His resolve to step in to a world to rescue people full of broken dreams and shattered lives. That fact alone reveals so much about God. It shows me that God is not afraid of stepping in to a mess. It shows me that I can show Him the worst of my life, the worst of what I’ve done, the worst of who I am, the worst of what’s been done to me, the worst of what is happening to me and it doesn’t scare Him away. It doesn’t push Him away. It doesn’t drive Him away. If anything, what Christmas reveals is that Jesus is willing to run toward the mess and He is willing to sit there in the excrement of our life, see all the ugly parts and still say, “I’m not going anywhere. Let’s work on this together.”
God is not afraid of your mess. Your mess does not intimidate God. God is willing to step in to your mess. It’s what Christmas is all about. What greater mess could Jesus have come in to than this world we’re living in? Some messes in our life are created because of our choices. Some messes in our life are created because of the choices of others. Some messes are created simply because our world is a broken mess. Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, Jesus sees it all and says, “I’m willing to step right in the middle of it … and the reason I’m willing to do that is because you are there.”
I love that! It shows me that no matter how great the mess it’s never greater than the message of Jesus! And, that message is that you have no mess in your life … past, present, or future that has more power than Jesus Christ. None. It means that Jesus doesn’t just save us from a past mess. It means that Jesus is continuing to save you from any mess you may find yourself in … past, present, or future. Jesus doesn’t just offer grace to clean up an old mess and then leave you to clean up the new one or the future ones on your own. No! Jesus is willing to sit with you, talk with you, and walk all the way through the mess to the other side offering you grace that will enable you to come out stronger and made more in the image of Him.
So, let me end just by saying this. If you’re in a mess, whatever your situation, whatever is going on, whatever is happening … your mess is never too messy for Jesus. You will never go unnoticed by Him. I believe that Jesus longs for us to hold out what is empty and ask Him to fill it … to hold out what is messy and ask Him to cleanse it … to hold out what is wounded and ask Him to heal it … to hold out what is sinful and ask Him to redeem it. God’s supply of grace will always rise to meet our demand and His power will rest on us in our weakness. Two thousand years ago Jesus came and turned the worst mess in to the greatest message of all time. He’s willing to do the same for you wherever you may find yourself right now.