It’s Christmas. I can tell because I have remnants of White Elephant parties piling up on my dresser: dollar store candles and signed pictures of Screech from Saved By The Bell. Someone got a live lobster at one party, but I was not so lucky.
I can tell because I begrudgingly have the Christmas Pandora station playing in my kitchen, the singers crooning in all of their insincere glory. (Gloria Estefan, do you really want to see Christmas Through My Eyes? Mariah Carey, is it true that all you want for Christmas is me? Paraphrasing Love Actually: it may be crap music but it’s solid gold crap!)
I can tell because my heart, oh my poor heart is in the weird paradoxical state it is always in this time of year. One moment feeling so incredibly loved, the next feeling so incredibly lonely. One moment feeling so grateful for my life, the next feeling like I am done with the storyline I’m living and that I want a new one. As soon as possible.
Christmas is the great reminder that my life is not like the nebulous phantom family life that is out there floating in the universe that all of us are supposed to compare our own families with. For some odd reason, we feel this pressure to weigh our our own situations to see if they live up to some magical standard that perhaps no family actually has.
Inevitably though, every year, I have something that shakes me out of my me comalong enough to remember the incredible, mind blowing mystery that we are celebrating.
This year, that something was this footage of the Andromeda galaxy. (Stick with it until the end if possible so you can picture the scale I’m talking about.)
What we just saw is one tiny speck of one galaxy. Scientists believe that there are around one hundred billion galaxies. To help you understand that number, if God were to give you one galaxy every second, it would take around 3,200 years for him to give you all the galaxies of the universe.
Mind officially blown.
What is even crazier is that the God who not only lives in the cosmos but CREATED them, the God that can’t be contained by eternity, that very God came down and became a tiny baby.
So we can hold him close to our heart.
Can you imagine how confined, uncomfortable, helpless, that might have felt? But he did it. He did it because he wants to be close to us.
He did it because when it is Christmas day and I begin to cry because my life is not what I expected or hoped it would be, he is right there holding me. He gave everything to be close to me like that. He truly is Emmanuel, the God that is with us. Even in our darkest moments.
That picture of the God who made those stars being held in the arms of human beings is truly the greatest mystery fathomable, the deepest and most profound story ever told.
As the Christmas song “O Holy Night” says he appeared, and the soul felt its worth.
When I remember this mystery, this sacrifice, no matter what my circumstances look like, my soul feel its worth.
What do you love about Christmas? What do you hate about it? What mysteries blow your mind during this season?