We got a snowstorm for Christmas this year, and it has created all sorts of last minute improvisations and changes in Christmas plans.
Oh, I don't think it will end up being quite as severe as the predictions, but it isn't over yet, so who knows? But it means that our family's celebration is looking a little different this year. Last night's Christmas liturgy was cancelled at our church, and we will not be able to make our annual Christmas Day trip to SW Minnesota (where no travel is advised at the moment). The Transposzing men spent a good chunk of Christmas Eve day moving snow - and they will likely spend a bit of Christmas Day doing the same thing.
Having a bit more time on my hands than I planned to have yesterday, I was able to take care of a few chores at home, and on and off checked Facebook to see how friends were faring with their Christmas celebrations. I was particularly struck by the post of one FB friend, a Lutheran pastor serving in a rural midwestern parish: "I hate shoveling. Street plow didn't come until noon, had to shovel again. Parents couldn't come, hospital call and a death. Merry Christmas."
Despite it's crabby overtones, this post sort of helped to clarify my thoughts about this year's celebration: How great a thing it is that God comes to us, anyway.
God's coming to us in the form of the infant Jesus born in a cave and lying in a feed trough rather rains all over our ideals of what Christmas is supposed to be. It's a good reminder of how distorted some of our ideals have become. The giving and receiving of perfect Christmas gifts, setting the perfect Christmas table, serving the perfect menu to the perfect guest list, and recreating the Christmas celebrations of our youth are not intrinsically bad notions. But it rather changes the focus from what God has done for us at Christmas to what we do at Christmas. And so it seems that sometimes we need a good Christmas snowstorm to shake things up a bit and to help us re-focus.
"Today salvation has come into the world," the Church says. And God's Word Made Flesh comes to us - today - despite our frustrations and our anxieties, and despite our unreadiness and our fears, and despite our disappointments and our failed plans and our cabin fever. God's great gift of Himself has been given to us and for us, anyway.
And that is precisely the point.
Christ is born! Glorify Him!