Staying Anchored: The Necessity of Christmas Chaos

Christmas is a good season to be thankful, especially this year with the pandemic. There has been a lot of chaos, messiness and sloppiness. There were many unknowns, from people’s health and jobs to whether schools would reopen. We had to come out of our comfort zones to make things happen. It was a difficult situation, but everyone was flexible and understanding in order to make it all work.

That is what Christmas is all about. Our lives are messy, but so was that first Christmas.  Mary was pregnant and had to go to a different town. Jesus’ birth sounds romantic, but it wasn’t. It was dark, cold and smelled terrible. It was full of chaos. That is part of why God came into the world. He chose to enter into our chaos and messiness so we can know He is Emmanuel and loves us. We understand we are stronger and more resilient by the very fact knowing that God is with us.

There is a lot more hope now at the end of the year. The vaccine is coming. We continue to learn more about what we can do moving forward, whether through Zoom meetings or other means and apply it to the future. Because of the pandemic, we now focus more on what is important.

This Christmas is really the definition of why God came to us. Sometimes, when things are going smoothly at Christmas, we lose that understanding. This year, it brings Him to the front, so we remember to thank God and focus on the blessing that we are still here. We are created for others and building relationships with other people. What is a fancy watch compared to staying connected to loved ones that we haven’t seen in months? The physical gifts don’t compare to the time we have together.

I have performed weddings all year where only ten people can attend. In many cases, you see that chaos where the focus is on who can’t be there or the things that can’t be included. What happens at the altar, though, is that the focus shifts to the love that the couple shares, and they realize all the rest of it is for show. They appreciate that they don’t have to worry about the extras and can find the true meaning of why they are together.

Due to this chaos, we realize that this is not about the “perfect life” that we are supposed to build but about the “giving life” where we should strive to love, understand and forgive.

Life is about simplicity. It is not about stuff and things that only cause us stress. It is about sharing our love and thanking people for coming into our lives and not about what is in it for us. Jesus’s birth teaches us all these things. Christmas is about finding God and our true calling to each other amidst all the chaos surrounding us.

About Loras College
Founded in 1839, Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. In 2019, Loras was the second-highest ranked Catholic college in the state of Iowa according to College Consensus, the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top 200 Most Loved Colleges/Universities by Forbes Magazine for the third consecutive year. Loras students ranked No. 2 in the world as part of the global Peeptrade Investment Challenge while a second group ranked No. 4. For the 10th consecutive year, Loras Media Studies student-led television station (LCTV) was named the TV Station of the Year by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).