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An Ordinary Christmas

Student hanging candy cane on tree

An Ordinary Christmas

by Christy Johnson, Director of Communications and Enrollment

And the word became flesh and dwelt among us… John 1:14

I love words. I love to play with them, to string them together to create beauty and meaning. God seems to whisper words to my heart for me to wrestle with, to discover meaning and truth from. Last year, God placed the word “expectations” on my heart during Advent. He allowed me to wrestle with lost expectations and ultimately find more faith and beauty in my own story by looking at the stories of the shattered expectations He wove throughout the Christmas story.

This year, the word that keeps whispering to my heart is “ordinary.” If I am honest, I often have a hard time finding Jesus in the ordinary moments of my life. I can see Him work in the big moments but He seems to get lost in my ordinary moments. Yet, this year the Christmas story seems to be speaking softly to my soul, revealing to me the ways that God uses the ordinary things in life to weave together His story of amazing love.

The woman and man chosen to be Jesus’ parents were ordinary people, doing ordinary things, a carpenter and his peasant fiancé. They did not stand out; they lived humble, ordinary lives.

They did the ordinary thing and followed a mandate to be included in the census. Like everyone else, they traveled to their birth city to be counted by the government. A man traveling with his pregnant wife was an ordinary thing to a busy innkeeper. Mary and Joseph did not stand out as extraordinary and did not warrant special treatment or accommodations. Even Jesus Himself did not stand out. He blended into crowds (Luke 4:30) and was ordinary in appearance (Isaiah 53:2).

Yet, in all that ordinary, the extraordinary was at work. The creator of the world took on flesh and dwelt among us and poured out Himself for us. The divine became ordinary so that He could love us in extraordinary ways. He weaves that love through all the ordinary moments of life. He is always there, building those small ordinary moments into extraordinary ones.

As I approach this Advent season, I often struggle to find Him in the ordinary messiness of my life. Yet, I hear Him telling me to look closer, to examine my story, and find His hand not only throughout the big moments but also the small. The body of Christ poured out for me over and over.

I can find Christ in the beautifully wrapped gift left quietly on my car, letting me know I am not alone on a terrible day. The body of Christ poured out for me.

There is the perfectly timed text from a sweet friend lifting me up and telling me I am brave. How could she have known exactly what I needed to hear in that precise moment? The body of Christ poured out for me.

Then there is the thread of texts from a group of friends that I find in the morning on my phone that begins my day with laughter. The body of Christ poured out for me.

There are my parents who show up and help me make my new house my home, my sanctuary. They show up and work hard for me, all because they love me and want me to have a space I love. The body of Christ poured out for me.

As I sit in stillness and reflect, I could go on and on. There is the custodian I work with who checks on me every single day. And oh, there is that mischievous gleam in my son’s eyes as he teases me about something, his smile lights up a room. Or how about the way my daughter’s hair smells as she hugs me tight, she gives the best hugs. There is the beauty of the buttery, golden light as the sun begins to set, that bathes the earth in His glory. It is all there, the small ordinary moments speaking to His presence, His care. His body poured out through others. My heart floods with gratitude. I can’t help but be grateful, to be joyful for the small and large blessings. He is slowly teaching my stubborn heart the secret to a beautiful, ordinary life.