I’m decorating gingerbread cookies with my 5 year old and her little friend. A blanket of frosting and sprinkles covers the counter tops, and as I observe the smear upon the floors, the walls, and probably the ceiling, I exclaim: “This place is a disaster!”
The small child before me, the one shaking bright red sprinkles upon everything but her gingerbread man, responds: “When it’s this messy, it just means we are working really hard.”
I consider the truth of her words. The Christmas disaster all over my kitchen and living room–tissue paper in shreds, manger scenes all discombobulated, and crafts partially completed–I realize the beautiful work of Christmas and the mess we leave in our wake. Our schedules are in chaos; our diets reconfigure to include ridiculous amounts of gooey treats; our family issues bubble up to the surface; our cats have scattered ornaments all over the house. Messy, messy, messy.
But something is happening in the mess. Something beautiful and right. When it’s this messy, something is working really hard.
A lot of things about Christmas are messy–even Jesus arrives in the filth of a manger in the chaotic way that disorders a whole world back to order.
I’ll clean up in 2011. Right now, I’m disordering the place into the kind of Christmas order we need. When it’s this messy, something’s right.