I always giggle a little at the Christmas carols which note Jesus’s birth as silent and sweet, calm and mild. I’ve been company to many births and they were definitely not calm, mild, sweet or silent. They were busy, protracted, painful, scary, loud and messy. They were also exciting, happy and sacred.
We like imagining the birth of Jesus as picture perfect. And that’s okay, so long as we don’t slip into thinking that which is holy is necessarily also orderly and beautiful, calm and bright.
I expect Jesus was born the usual way with plenty of tears and towels. I expect it was noisy and frustrating and anxious . . . and shimmering with holiness – the palpable sensation of being in the presence of the miraculous.
One gift of Christmas is the reminder that Jesus is always with us, however frustrating and messy life seems. We only need to lean into it to be overwhelmed by it.
In these days of anticipation and preparation, I pray that we might all dwell in the joyful, shimmering, if somewhat messy, holiness all around us.