Christmas is the season of interruptions.
Who isn’t relieved, at year’s end, for the interruption of a week or two of well-earned holidays?
If you’re anything like me, Christmas has happily retained a lot of its sparkle and wonder even into adulthood. Somehow, amid all the candy canes, chaos and crowded calendars, Christmas still feels like the most meaningful and merry interruption of the year.
Of course, Yuletide also comes with its fair share of unwanted interruptions — whether traffic jams, tangled fairy lights, Mariah Carey playing at the mall, or the awkward relative at the family Christmas bash.
But it’s all of these interruptions that make Christmas what it is.
Indeed, from its very inception, Christmas majored on messy interruptions.
It all began with the Roman Empire’s equivalent of a tax audit. The emperor called a census, forcing every citizen to return to his or her hometown. For Joseph, that meant a four-day journey on foot from Nazareth, southbound to Bethlehem.
From there, the interruptions came thick and fast.
A supposedly chaste fiancé falling pregnant.
An angel in the night urging Joseph to swallow his pride and marry Mary anyway.
A cruel journey capped by the cruel news of no room in the inn — an animal shed out back would have to double as the anxious couple’s maternity ward.
Wise men from the east informing a jealous King about a newborn rival to his throne.
A curious star piercing Bethlehem’s sky.
A choir of angels scaring the socks off a band of sheep herders, with good tidings of a baby born that night.
A maniacal genocide forcing the holy family to up and flee the country.
Picture yourself as any one of this ragtag cast of nativity characters, and there’s no denying the first Christmas was one great, big, holy interruption.
But it was an interruption a dark world desperately needed.
I’m not sure about you, but from where I stand, the world is looking rather dark again.
Common sense is being outlawed. End-is-nigh hysteria and globalist power grabs surround us left and right. Our leaders defend violence and perversion. The beliefs, bodies and bank accounts of the common man are increasingly a plaything of the elites. The slaughter of the innocents has found a slick, new marketing department.
We are a civilisation losing our mind and losing our way.
It is into bleak situations like ours, however, that the message of Christmas shines brightest. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”
Christmas is not first the story of an unplanned pregnancy, or a bold cross-country expedition, or the assemblage of shepherds, wise men and animals around a quaint manger scene.
It is the story of God interrupting our world.
The holy infant so tender and mild was no ordinary baby, but Immanuel — God with us.
“Fear not,” the head of the angelic host famously told the shepherds. “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Saving is something our world needs — in spades. It can be very tempting to think that we are the ones to do it. Every generation has assumed the same. But here we are 2,000 years later, and the world still needs a whole lot of saving.
That’s why Jesus was born. That’s why it still makes sense for us to pause each year to celebrate the interruption that was the birth of Christ, the Saviour of the world.
So, from my family to yours, have a very happy, holy and merry interruption this Christmas.
Image via Pexels.