December 11 2013

As if by the sheer force of our merriment, our distraction, our errand-running, we have managed to eliminate him, and now it is our serious duty to put him back in place.

We remind each other with trite sayings penned on Christmas cards. Jesus is the reason for the season, we say earnestly. We set up that Willow Tree manger set that we all went crazy for a couple of years ago—the ceramic one, where all the figures are faceless. We arrange it so that all eyes point to the babe in the straw.

We turn our candy canes upside down: See! It’s a “J” for Jesus! The nativity glows fluorescent in the yard next to the inflatable Santa and the toy soldier, and somehow, it looks all wrong.

Today, rain: big glassy droplets all down the windows. And it is so unexpected, this Minnesota December rainstorm, that I stop and look out the sliding door at the way it gathers, shivering along the railing. The kids are napping, and for a brief moment there is only this: the quiet spattering of rain – almost silent, but also not silent at all.

Be still now. It is not up to you to put Christ anywhere.

Set down the giant, light-up Joseph, who is awkward under your arms, and look around you. God does not need to be hauled into the holiday; he is already here.

Incarnation means a lot of things, but one of them is this: the earth is wild with God’s love, his beauty, his presence. One silent night he came and now he is here, and because of that, the world is glowing, lit from within by grace.

Breathe deep of the cold winter air. Feel your lungs fill up with hope.


Note: This post originally appeared on It has been republished here.


  1. “God does not need to be hauled into the holiday; he is already here.” – THIS!

    After having a few extra moments sitting in front of our lit tree in the early morning darkness and FINALLY just being still… this was such a well timed and good read for my heart. Thank you for this post!

  2. Well, amen and hallelujah! Spot on, Addie – WE don’t have to PUT Christ anywhere. Only ask continually for eyes to see what Jesus is already doing. God has been at work long before we ever showed up and will continue to be long after we’re gone. Yes, sometimes the Christmas overwhelm can be a bit too much – but you know what? It’s a Big Deal that God became human, so maybe the extra work/color/gift-giving/baking/decorating can be a way to agree with that truth. Though God became small, that act looms large on the horizon of history. Thanks so much, dear girl.

  3. How deeply this resonates in my soul– yes, it is not “up to” me to somehow invite the Creator of the universe to His own celebration.

  4. Yes.
    So much yes, friend.


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