Summary: Christmas is not always picture perfect. In fact not even the first one was, but God can make it better.

Trouble at Christmas

Luke 2:1-20

December 2003

December 2007

This is a fictional Christmas correspondence between Martha Stewart and Erma Bombeck to remind us that Christmas isn’t always picture perfect.

Hi Erma, This perfectly delightful note is being sent on paper I made myself to tell you what I have been up to. Since it snowed last night, I got up early and made a sled with old barn wood and a glue gun. I hand painted it in gold leaf, got out my loom, and made a blanket in peaches and mauves. Now it’s time to start making the place mats and napkins for my 20 breakfast guests. I’m serving the old standard Stewart 12-course breakfast, but I didn’t have time to make the tables and chairs this morning, so I used the ones I already had. I did take time to make the dishes to use for breakfast from Hungarian clay, which you can get at almost any Hungarian craft store. Well, I must run. I need to finish the buttonholes on the dress I’m wearing for breakfast. I’ll get out the sled and drive this note to the post office as soon as the glue dries on the envelope I’ll be making.- Love, Martha Stewart

Response from Erma Bombeck:

Dear Martha,

I’m writing this on the back of an old shopping list, pay no attention to the coffee and jelly stains. I’m 20 minutes late getting my daughter up for school, packing a lunch with one hand, on the phone with the dog pound, seems old Ruff needs bailing out, again. Burnt my arm on the curling iron when I was trying to make those cute curly fries. Still can’t find the scissors to cut out some snowflakes, tried using an old disposable razor…trashed the tablecloth. Tried that cranberry thing, frozen cranberries mushed up after I defrosted them in the microwave. Oh, and don’t use Fruity Pebbles as a substitute in that Rice Krispie snowball recipe, unless you happen to like a disgusting shade of green! The smoke alarm is going off, talk to ya later.- Love, Erma

I don’t know anybody who enjoys the Martha Stewart picture perfect Christmas. Kids get sick, people lose their jobs, people even die. Trouble doesn’t take a holiday even at Christmas. That shouldn’t surprise us: even the first Christmas wasn’t picture perfect . In the midst of all the miracles and joy, there were a lot of hassle, and a lot of hurting. We often look back at Christmas with magical rose colored glasses, and then we compare our troubled lives to it and think it does apply to me. It has nothing to say to my messed up life. Lets take a look back at what it was really like the first Christmas, and I think we will discover it has a lot to say to us today. Lets Look at Luke 2:1-20

I Difficult Times

a. Their country has been invaded and they were under the rule of a super power. (A little like Iraq invading Kuawitt ) (We are at war today)

b. Soldiers and foreign rulers controlled the area for a long time.

C. Now a world wide tax had been added to their already tight economy.

D. They had to travel- back to the home town of their ancestors by donkey or walking. (70 miles for Joseph)

A preacher’s family had started putting up a nativity scene in their front yard. All of them were carrying out the little statues to put in the nativity scene. Finally everything was in place - Mary & Joseph & the manger & the baby, & angels & shepherds & all the barnyard animals.

Then little Scott came out carrying one of his favorite toys, the figure of the fierce Tyrannosaurus Rex, king of the dinosaurs. It was one of those plastic figures that you inflate, & in comparison to the other figures it was an enormous thing, towering over them all, & certainly not something to have in a nativity scene.

The Dad said, "I tried to tell him, ‘Scott, you have to take that back because it doesn’t belong there. Dinosaurs existed thousands of years before the baby Jesus, & it just doesn’t belong in a nativity scene.’"

But little Scott insisted, so they finally put it there behind all the other figures - a fierce dinosaur hovering over the manger & everything else.

Then he said, "As we stood back & looked at it, we realized that maybe that dinosaur says more than we realized. For over each of us there is this menacing character that threatens to rob us of all our joy & peace & cheer."

"But Christmas reminds us that the baby in the manger is stronger than all the dinosaurs in your life or mine. And God has given us the victory through the gift of His Son."

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