People in the Christmas story certainly find life a bit chaotic at times. Mary’s life is thrown upside down by an unexpected pregnancy (some of us also know the jolt of an unexpected child). Joseph initially thinks his wedding plans are demolished and then has to wrap his mind around the new child that comes into his life needing his protection. I think, too, of the ancillary characters in the story, like the innkeeper who has to turn Mary and Joseph away and is facing the chaotic influx of travelers needing a place to stay. Undoubtedly there was some bedlam in Bethlehem on that first Christmas and maybe there is some bedlam in your home as well. About this time of year I begin to yearn for that beautiful Christmas peace as sung by the angels. We all need a silent night that can become for us a holy night.
Yet at the heart of the Christmas story, we see how God arrived in the midst of tired and weary travelers, overflowing crowds and labor pains. God moves in and ushers out the bedlam and even when all the chaos around can’t be calmed, God calms us. The good news is that God doesn’t just visit our bedlam. God doesn’t come to inspect. God does not drop in and drop out. God comes to lead us out and remain with us. Sunday we’ll worship together the God who leads us from bedlam to Bethlehem and blesses our lives with the gift of world-changing love.
Dave Summers, PhD
Paradise Valley United Methodist Church