The Emotions of Christmas – Part 3

The xmasclock.com countdown says there is 7 days 14 hours 29 minutes and 47 seconds left before Christmas.

How are you doing? All ready? In a panic?

Let me ask you, do you find yourself as Christmas approaches rolling your eyes, catching random thoughts of cynicism with all the hustle and bustle, and just plain feeling disgusted? I’ve caught myself rolling my eyes a few times, (of course inside my head) when I am out in public. I see the way people behave and the pent up frenzy and it releases that emotion of disgust. Why is that?

Before we answer that, let’s meet Disgust a member of the family of emotions from the film, Inside Out by Disney Pixar, because well reality is that, life gets a little dirty.

What does this little cute green girl and emotion of disgust look like at Christmas? Here’s what the FB survey said….

Christmas…whatever…!!
Why bother, no one says thanks anyway.
I’m just tired of doing it all and having to be Ms. Holly Jolly Christmas.
Why can’t the neighbors put their lights up right?
Who does that anyway?
What’s wrong with people?
Can’t they get it together?
Does all this have to be on one tree?

If we stay frustrated long enough we become cynical…like Mr. Scrooge. I call it the “whatever roll our eyes” attitude. It’s when our anger has turned to frustration and then has captured our joy and locked it up for good and we suffer from the emotion of disgust.

Nothing brings our joy to the surface anymore, not the wide-eyed wonder of little people looking at Christmas lights,

a smile that the bell ringers at the mall beckon to us to remember others,

fresh fallen snow and the dusk of light dancing on it’s surface.

Nothing. Notta…Nothing.

Our hearts become frozen in the slime of disgust.

Disgusted and displaced where we can’t see Christmas in a way that God wants us to experience the good news is not a good place to be. Can you relate? I’ve been at this place too many times! Disgust says there are a lot of gross things out there and can’t see past the yuck of life.

There were a group of people recorded in the gospels that seemed to be always disgusted about something. They were called the Pharisees, the religious rulers of the day. They imposed impossible demands on how to know and understand God, on the Jewish people. They took the law too far and became legalists which they of course were the only perfect ones practicing the law with precision. From the time Jesus stepped on the scene they showed their disgust and sought to discredit who He was and His mission. They projected their rules and rituals on Jesus telling him when he could heal people, what he could say, and shot him down every chance they had. Even one of Jesus early followers said in John 1:45,46 “How can anything good come from a place like Nazareth?”

Many of us have our pristine nativity scenes set up in our homes. There is a few things missing if we wanted to make it truly authentic. We need to add a little manure, some damp smelling hay, a handful of insects and a few unruly animals. Did you find those little disgusting items in the box when you bought your set?

The reality is, that it was probably a pretty disgusting birthing room, and yet Luke 1:16 tells us how the shepherds found the baby, “…they found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the feeding trough.” How disgusting is that? I can’t even fathom lying one of my precious newborn sons in a barn in a trough that animals had been eating out of, saliva drooling from their mouths as they chewed their meal. YUCK!! But that is how God delivered His gift to us. He came, simple and serene in the busyness of Bethlehem in the middle of chaos.

Yes, I get disgusted here and there during the season. But I am trying to remember to see through the lens of determined joy and not lose sight of the baby in the manger swaddled away from the manure and smell and mire.

The good news,

Immanuel.

God with us.

When I narrow my focus, the disgust falls off me and I can see that God came in the chaos for all of us and our mucked up manurey lives. My eyes stop rolling, the random thoughts turn to worship and my heart begans to sing. Even in the midst of the chaos I can embrace the greatest ever gift given for me and for you. But I have to tell you, it just doesn’t happen, I have to be intentional, because truth be told, I have a little Pharisee inside of me too and it shows up in disgust.

So the next time I feel disgusted because someone stole my parking place, or beat me to the nearest register, or cut in line, or an adult is acting like a 5 year old in public, I am going to choose joy over rolling my eyes because of what the shepherds did after they visited the baby in the feeding trough.

The shepherd returned to their flocks, praising God for all they had seen and heard, and they glorifed God for the way the experience had unfolded just as the heavenly messenger had predicted. Luke 2:20.

Of course, Mary gets the award for seeing past the disgusting circumstances of delivering Jesus. Luke says that,

Mary, too, pondered all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart.

She experienced the disgust of her surroundings and yet chose to see Jesus, the source of her joy.

I want to be like Mary, this world is a mess, and yet in the mess of the stable of our lives, there lies joy, ready for us to pick up and choose to experience.

Next emotion up…sadness