For many of us, Christmas is about sharing moments and memories with family, a time of remembrance, a time of celebration.
For me, this is especially a time of gratitude. The Christmas story is a remarkable one… almost impossible to fully comprehend. Far from the peaceful nativity scenes we see, this is a story that oozes real life. A pregnant girl and a carpenter traveling 75 miles to Bethlehem to register for a census. In her third trimester, the girl makes this long journey on the back of a donkey. Uncomfortable at best. More than likely miserable.
Upon arrival, with no place for the young couple to stay, they are shown a stable – typically a small area carved in a rock where animals were kept and fed. There, in the midst of the pungent smells of animal dung and pig feed, this brave girl delivers a baby who would be the savior of the world. An ordinary entrance into humanity, in the midst of the real life chaos of very ordinary people.
The story points me to two profound truths. First, in looking for something great, we often overlook the miraculous that is right among us in the ordinary things of life. Second, the point of this miraculous story was an offer of a second chance to a very flawed and imperfect mankind.
As we approach Christmas today and tomorrow, may we never overlook the ordinary of our lives, and in so doing, miss the miraculous all around us, every day. And may we passionately pursue our second chance, and look to offer a second chance to others. In no other way is the spirit of that Bethlehem night more alive in us.