Christmas is in four days. My house is decorated. My kids are excited. And I am tired.
This year has worn me out. 2015 has been a long, hard slog from January to December. Every time I thought we had conquered the mountain in front of us, we reached the peak to find a taller mountain behind it.
Illness after illness has hit our family hard. Stroke, meningitis, thyroid, liver. You name it. We had a taste of it this year. This year has been so tough that both my daughter and I completely forgot she broke her hand in October. You know it's been a rough year when broken bones don't even make the Top 10 Events of the Year list.
And, yet, there have been moments in this year that I wouldn't trade for the world. The precious perspective that my 14-year-old has gained embodied in the words she said the other day, "Just think, six months ago my biggest worry was staying on my soccer team. That doesn't even register now."
The shared moments with my husband where we tried to tackle the mountain together, knowing that when one failed, the other would pick them up.
The intentional moments with my 12-year-old created because she simply needed some time with her mom.
Because in the midst of the trial, in the midst of what seems like never-ending struggle, there is beauty. God is creating a better perspective, a stronger family and a sheer reliance on Him.
So, as I sit here four days before Christmas, I am reminded that the very first Christmas was probably the end of a very long year for Mary and Joseph. Unmarried and pregnant in a culture that had no allowance for that. Miraculously pregnant, but with a story no one would believe. I imagine Mary and Joseph felt very alone and very afraid. They knew God was creating something wonderful, but they were the only ones that knew it.
Two young people, teenagers, really, on the road to Bethlehem. No place for them to stay. A baby on the way.
And, yet, God created beauty out of the struggle. The savior of the world was born. And in the midst of their joy, I'm sure Mary and Joseph struggled to see the plan laid out for them. I'm sure they were scared. I'm sure they were often uncertain about what to do next.
God creates beauty out of chaos. His plan to save the world started with two young people having a baby in a cave in Bethlehem.
And, I'm reminded this Christmas, that if God can do that, He can make something amazing out of the crazy that has been our year.
So, this Christmas, if you're struggling to just put one foot in front of the other, if the weight of the world is on your shoulders, remember this: God specializes in making great things out of difficult times. Jesus' birth is proof of that.