What a mess

Published 5:39 pm Friday, December 10, 2021

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By Nathan Rice

The world was a mess a few thousand years ago, especially for the nation of Israel. Their country had fallen a long time ago, and subsequent generations witnessed one conquering empire after another take control of their land. They now lived under the brutal regime of the Roman empire.

Their faith, which was such an integral part of their life, culture and nation, was also confused. Different people, all claiming to speak for God, had created factions within the faith, and no one seemed to know who was right.

We often sanitize the Christmas story, placing an angelic light above the manger scene while singing Silent Night. A better view of the Christmas story is that the world was in chaos, and Israel was in the middle of that chaos. It was a mess!

Like a few thousand years ago, our world is a mess. Nations are fighting nations, disasters seem commonplace, and violence is everywhere. A disease of global proportion confounded the issues and has led to increased divisiveness in our country. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t say that our world is chaotic and our country is in a mess.

Likewise, many people are dealing with chaotic, messy situations in their lives. Life sometimes deals us a bad hand, and it’s hard to pull ourselves out of challenging situations. Other times, consequences for bad decisions pull us deeper and deeper into a sticky situation that we created.

Many times, when things are a mess, we assume that Jesus has no interest in us. Surely, a holy God isn’t interested in gross and unpleasant situations.

However, Jesus wasn’t afraid of the mess a few thousand years ago. He entered the chaotic world to a distressed nation at His birth. He didn’t wait for Israel to get it together, figure things out, or clean up their act. He stepped right into the middle of that huge mess.

He is also willing to enter into the mess of our world, our nation, and our lives. Too often, we think that we have to get everything together before Jesus is willing to enter. We believe that we have to put our best foot forward and roll out the red carpet before we dare invite Jesus to come to us. We push Him back, afraid that He might see our addictions, struggles, troubles and sins.

Jesus isn’t waiting for us to clean up the mess before He comes into our lives or our nation. He wasn’t afraid of the mess a few thousand years ago, and He’s not scared of our mess today. In fact, it’s why He came. He came to restore what we broke and clean what we made dirty.

Don’t be afraid to invite Jesus into your mess this Christmas. Learn from the Christmas story, and give your mess to the One willing to enter the dirtiest of situations.


Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.