Christmas has become a day we prepare for with great effort. We plan. We shop. We decorate. We primp. We wrap. We invite. We shop some more. We wait. We send. We cook. We clean. We surprise. For many of us, the last four weeks (or more, if you started after Halloween) have been full of stress, tension, worry, and now, urgency.

Despite all the planning, it’s not unlikely that your kid decided to change their Santa-list last minute or your in-laws decided they’d come into town two days early. Maybe your dog has eaten a few of the presents under the tree or you’re already wishing you’d had fewer candies at the Christmas parties you’ve attended. Even if you weren’t the best Secret Santa in your office this year or the online gift you ordered won’t make it in time, Christmas won’t be ruined because Christmas has never been about your effort anyway.


As we look back to that first Christmas, the Bible shows us a reversal of roles. Without any human effort or involvement, God planned and prepared to redeem us beginning with this miraculous event. We read about anxious new parents, weary shepherds, and expectant wise men, but no one anticipated that night like God had. He waited for just the right time to send Jesus. He sent his Son to accomplish what we could not. He surprised the world with the greatest gift, wrapped up and lying in a manger.

God’s story of Christmas is written with imperfect humans receiving the unplanned, the unexpected and the unprepared for. He meets humanity’s insufficiency with divine perfection, preparation, and planning.


Jesus’ birth—his messy entrance into our world to take on flesh and endure our earned punishment—shows us that God will stop at nothing to meet you exactly where you are, within the mess of your story with all its hopes and disappointments, certainties and doubts, successes and failures. He won’t care if you sing every carol out of tune or if you failed at making your grandma’s recipe once again. You can come to him today and every day with your full self—the self who eats a few too many cookies and can’t perfectly wrap a box to save your life.

You don’t need to have a perfectly planned Christmas or even a perfectly planned life because God has been preparing for you. Your worth is secure in Christ, who loves you despite the wrinkled table cloth or rambunctious kids. Instead of taking the next five minutes to send one more Christmas card or search for that last-minute gift, take a moment to remember that. The God of the Universe planned for thousands of years to send us his greatest gift and he came regardless of what was left on your to-do list today