Friday, December 25, 2009

to be human on Christmas

Could've come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could've come like a forest fire
With the power of heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

You could've swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we've scarred

But You came like a winter snow
You were quiet
You were soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Oh, no, Your voice wasn't in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn't in a rushing wind
It was still
It was small
It was hidden

You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

by audrey assed

last night at our Christmas Eve service, my littlest sister Judea and I sang the song above.
in front of people.
it was a sweet, humbling and memorable experience.

I have loved the song all season, playing it over and over in my car, singing it at the top of my lungs. Even though it is more of a whisper type of song.

I had this dream of Judea singing it at our Christmas Eve service. Somehow in the mix of things (read: crazy holiday madness) I agreed to sing it with her.
Now, one thing you should know is that Judea sings publicly a lot, and I don't. Well, not since I was a teenager and learned better.
But somehow, in the romance of Christmas I agreed to sing this one with her, in front of everyone I love. Oh, my.

So we did it. We sang our song, and like most plans made in a humans life, our little performance did not go exactly as planned. Let's just say it had it's ups and downs. It's highs and lows.
But we made it through- together- and it's memory - albeit slightly embarrassing - is one that we will share forever.

Today I was thinking about that song, about our singing it, and about our imperfections - as singers, as sisters, as humans.
And I thought about Mary. Mary, mother of Jesus.
I thought about the stable where Jesus was born, the crowded town of Bethlehem, the strange circumstances of her marriage and pregnancy. And I thought how giving birth in a stable, to baby God, was probably never, not even once, part of her own "best laid plans."

And I realized for the first time, that not only were the circumstances of Jesus' birth less than ideal, less than "perfect" (by Martha Stewart's standards to say the least) but that Mary herself was in some way imperfect as well. Maybe she didn't like the infant stage and resented midnight feedings. Maybe she had postpartum depression. Maybe she loved the toddler stage but had trouble with the preschool years (all those questions!) What if she was a messy housekeeper? What if she grew frustrated with Joseph for not taking out the trash and grumbled under her breath or worse, yelled at him? What if ?

What I realized as I thought about this new imperfect Mary was, that if I truly believe that Jesus came to earth as a Human, to have the same experiences that all of us have as earthlings, then he must of had the very common experience of having a less-than-perfect mother as well.
Maybe even one like me, who potentially embarrassed him by singing less-than-perfectly in front of all his friends. Or something similar - like putting him on the spot publicly by promising a distraught friend that he could turn water into wine for the thirsty wedding guest....

And I was aware, in a fresh way, of we are all connected, even to Christ himself, more through our shared less-than-perfectness (and the awareness of it) than perhaps in any other way.

Or as my friend Darrell put it much more eloquently when writing to a group of friends on Christmas Eve:

None of what we are doing would be possible if God had not initiated the invasion of earth by becoming a man. In the incarnation, God takes on the life and characteristics of humanity. In our salvation and sanctification, we take on the life and characteristics of God.

So whatever went wrong this Christmas - whatever you did poorly, whatever disappointed you, or however you disappointed yourself or others, whatever best-laid-plans fell through or did not go off as you had hoped, please remember Mary, and myself and know that you are in great, wonderful and accepting company.

After all, as long as Christmas has been celebrated, it has been hosted by less-than-perfect women, who just did what they could to show love the way they knew how.

Merry Christmas my friends!


  1. What sweet writings! You are so right in what you said! Thank you for saying it to all of us! And...I bet the song you sang was perfect and pleasing to The Lord. I am sure He thought it was AMAZING! :)

  2. How is it that you always know just thing to say, just when I need to hear it? Thank you for being such an honest and inspiring woman. Mary would be proud. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  3. what ag8 thought

    merry xmas

  4. I heard that song for the first time last week. My husband & friend sang it for our Christmas Eve service. It was so touching!

  5. You are exactly right! And I’m going to save this to remind myself next year . . . and really anytime, but this isn’t just for Christmas!

  6. Love this. Love it. How did I miss reading it up 'til now? Thank you for putting yourself out there & leading us all into celebration!




ok, really. tell me the truth... do these comments make me look fat?

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