Karl Haffner, The Mess of Christmas, Adventist Review
Here’s the good news:
Our God is not afraid of a mess. He will march into the middle of your life no matter how messed up it is. That’s His signature; that’s how you’ll know it is Jesus.
Sometimes we think, Before God will accept me, I’ve got to do a little mess management. Then I can come to God. Nope. Truth is, you’ll never get yourself out of this mess on your own. I got a snapshot of this on a recent trip to Dallas, Texas. I was cruising on a frontage road that paralleled an interstate below. Suddenly the monstrous Cadillac Escalade in front of me spun out of control. The SUV tumbled down the embankment toward the highway. Miraculously, the vehicle got snagged on a boulder. It was perched precariously, as if daring nature to hiccup and drop the driver into the violent traffic below. I pulled over, not sure what to do. The driver emerged from her broken window. She was a young woman who was obviously shaken . . . and drunk. She staggered toward my car.
“Are you OK?” I asked.
“I think so.” Then she asked the silliest question I’ve ever heard: “Could you pull me out?”
Here I was, sitting in a rented GEO Metro, and she was asking me to pull her SUV up off this steep embankment.
I said, “That’s not going to happen.”
“Well then, could you get in my Escalade and drive it down the hill to the freeway below?”
The request was so ridiculous I had to mask my amazement that she was still smashed enough to even ask it. “No way am I getting in that SUV. What I will do is call a wrecker to pull you out.”
“No!” she was quick to protest. “Don’t call anyone. . . .
Fine! Be that way. I don’t need you. I’ll pull it out myself!”
I drove away and called the police, marveling at how foolish people can be. But we can be just as foolish with God. “I don’t need a Savior,” the temptress whispers. “I can pull myself out of this mess. I can clean myself up on my own.”
But you can’t. The Bible says we are buried in a mess that we’ll never fix. Our only hope is for Someone to come to the site of our wreck and pull us out. And there you have the Christmas story. God comes to our mess in the form of a baby to do for us what we could never do for ourselves.
That’s why the Christmas story is such good news— because we’re messy people. And this is a messy place that is scarred by domestic violence, terrorism, AIDS, business scandals, child abuse, road rage, hate.
Amidst this mess, the angel proclaims, “Here’s the good news of Christmas: Our God embraces our mess. his infant child will come into your life and mine — no matter how messed up it might be. That’s His signature, His sign, a dead giveaway that it’s Jesus.”
Jesus doesn’t care how messy your life is. It doesn’t scare Him at all. For He started His life in a mess: wrapped in rags and placed in a manger. And He ended His life in a mess: wrapped in rags and hammered to a cross. And in between the first day and the last day, He loved all the messed-up people He could find. Then on the cross He took upon Himself the messy sin of the whole world.
Mess doesn’t scare Him at all. It’s His signature.