We’re having a baby this March. There’s much excitement at our house about this, especially Addison. She just can’t wait to meet her baby sister: Piper Noelle Christ. And while there’s great excitement about meeting Piper, there’s also the reality that we will functionally be half-dead zombies from lack of sleep for the first few months. Unless, of course, Piper is like the “Away in a Manger, Verse 2” Jesus:

The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;

Ummmm…. OK. No crying? From what I know of babies, there’s not a lot of “no crying” going on when they wake up. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this weekend through song, Scripture, and drama, consider this: That first Christmas was not nearly as neat and tidy as many carols make it out to be. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7

The birth of Jesus was loud, messy, and painful. These verses ignore Joseph and Mary’s exhaustion from the long journey, only to arrive and find there was nowhere to stay. There’s nothing about the anxiety Joseph must have felt as he tried to make the stable comfortable for Mary, only to realize Jesus was coming. And of course, there’s Mary’s own discomfort (to put it mildly) as she gives birth.

No, Christmas is not neat and tidy—but neither are we. It was on that day, over 2,000 years ago, that Jesus stepped into our messy, sinful world, surrounded by messy circumstances. But what a beautiful mess it would become! The long-awaited Savior had finally arrived, and He remakes our messy selves into forgiven, beautiful children of God. “Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay, Close by me forever and love me, I pray.