There are so many things not ok in our world today, this day, Christmas Eve.
There are big, public things that just about everyone knows, things that so many of us are just worried sick about.
There are small, private things too, things in our family that are not ok. Things that hardly anyone and maybe even nobody knows, things that keep us staring at the ceiling when the time on the clock begins with, say, a 3 or a 4, for instance. Things in ourselves that are so not ok we can barely stand to know them at all.
How can we possibly celebrate Christmas like this? How are we supposed to do it?
I don’t really know. All I know is that things in that manger were not ok. That things in that family weren’t that great either.
They were, after all, just two kids, babies having babies, trying to do the right thing. Kids who failed to plan adequately for a big trip, as their long-in-the-tooth parents would have advised, and probably did before they left. Kids who, nonetheless, neglected to plan ahead, or to make a hotel reservation, and ended up in a stable—a stable!—with animals and dirt and a brand new baby.
Can you imagine their mothers? Their horror upon hearing the story? How they must have thrown up their hands as they arrived, exasperated and unannounced, at the door of their best girlfriend. Put the tea on. You are not going to believe this one.
And yet. A light in the darkness. Emmanuel, God with us.
It was never meant to be celebrated amidst the perfect. It was not even meant to be celebrated amidst the ok.
It is exactly as it should be.
All is calm. All is bright.