A Snow Globe Christmas

"People who prefer a picture-perfect Christmas card-worthy life struggle to understand the Christmas story." by Major Susie Erickson

Are you dreaming of a peaceful Christmas at home this year? Not to be the Grinch who stole Christmas, but home and peace can be an oxymoron during the holiday season. But if this is your gift wish for Christmas, a snow globe is an excellent option.

Snow globes magically transport you to the idyllic Christmas scene of a Hallmark movie. A small town with a peaceful, friendly vibe. Townspeople who are pleasant and kind. An environment that is wholesome and non-violent. A community focused on family, friends and “Doing the Most Good.” The air is filled with love and happiness until someone comes along and shakes your world to the core, creating an epic blizzard.

Mary’s snow globe was shaken when the angel Gabriel told the young virgin that she would miraculously conceive the Son of God.

The divine kiss with humanity changed the trajectory of Mary’s life forever. Her future marriage and livelihood were in jeopardy. Her social standing and credibility were ruined. This announcement would cost her every dream and plan she had for her life. She was destined to be a second-class citizen forever. 

For a divine birth, the circumstances of the first Christmas were wrapped in chaos. An unmarried, pregnant teenager and a shamed fiancé because everybody in town knew he was not the baby’s daddy. There was no vacancy at the local inn. Only smelly animals and scratchy hay.

Max Lucado paints a word picture of the nativity scene in the book, “It Began in a Manger.” “The stable stinks like all stables do. The stench of urine, dung, and sheep reeks pungently in the air. The ground is hard, and the hay scarce. Cobwebs cling to the ceiling, and a mouse scurries across the dirt floor. A more lowly place of birth could not exist.”

Amid the most unusual circumstances, the Prince of Peace is born. People who prefer a picture-perfect Christmas card-worthy life struggle to understand the Christmas story. Why a pregnant, unmarried teenager? And, come on, who travels to Bethlehem without reservations? 

Why? Because we do not live under the protective dome of a snow globe. We live in a fallen world with…

  • Real people.
  • Real relationships.
  • Real problems.
  • Real bills to pay.
  • Real health challenges.
  • Real addictions.
  • Real family dynamics.
  • Real worries about the future. 
  • Real heartaches. 

Matthew’s account of the Christmas story begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ, focusing on the line of Judah. Are you navigating family drama this Christmas? You are not alone. Look at the genealogy of Jesus.

Matthew’s point is clear: Jesus Christ came from a highly dysfunctional family! Can you relate? 

Divinity entered our world in the muck of the stable to become one of us—one with us. A baby boy with 10 tiny fingers and 10 itty bitty toes who understands our sufferings. Human flesh that is truly and properly God, and truly and properly man, that can relate to our human experiences. 

What does this mean for you today as you worry about how the drama in your life will play out? Someone with the family origin and birth of Jesus can relate to the circumstances at the forefront of your thoughts. The peace He offers is not beyond your reach.

If you want to unwrap the gift of peace He offers, you won’t find it in a snow globe. It’s not found in the sparkle of Christmas lights, a freshly cut balsam fir or the nostalgic first bite of a time-honored family recipe. You won’t find it in any of the manufactured versions of peace we create in our homes and churches during the holiday season. 

You must travel to Bethlehem with no reservations. Step around the fresh piles of dung in the sheep pen. Weave your way through the shepherds. Kneel in the straw and lay your burdens alongside the gold, frankincense and myrrh placed before the bundle of peace wrapped in swaddling clothes. 

As foretold by Isaiah long ago, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 NIV).

Perfect peace that defies our human circumstances is found in a manger in Bethlehem. His name is Jesus.

Illustration by Eleanor Taylor | This article was published in the December 2023 issue of The War Cry.

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