Have Yourself a Good Enough Christmas

So much about that night was imperfect. Having to be in Bethlehem at all, so far from home, because of the whim of the empirical power ruling the region.

Finding no sympathy or shelter on arrival.

A young woman caught up in miracles beyond her understanding, saying 'Yes' when most others would have turned their backs in fear.

This was the first Christmas. 

What must it have been like that desert night, in the quiet on the edge of the crowded, bustling town? Pushed to the edges and marginalized, yet still a mother's joy even in such inauspicious surroundings. 

In the last few days before Christmas, as the nights grow colder and longer, I try to find the stillness of that Silent Night in the frenzy that we celebrate 2,000 years later. 

The stillness is buried under an avalanche of anxiety as we approach this Holy Night -  the finish line in a race for some unattainable peak experience.

Just like the airbrushed waifs that sell us images of an impossible physical ideal, the images of Christmas that inundate us are equally illusory. 

Christmas, like life, is messy. 

One of the beautiful things about it is that it keeps coming back.  

The rhythms of our lives change like the seasons- where we are this year may not be where we are next. Our traditions are not supposed to become unbearable burdens. 

This doesn't have to be the best Christmas ever. 

It takes courage in this culture to turn our backs to the incessant noise of advertising and seek silence. Christmas isn't a competitive sport, and we don't have to keep running. 

Good enough is good enough. 

May you find peace in the beauty of this season. 

Mary Gillespie


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