I could not tell you how many of my Christmas evenings have ended in front of the TV, laughing at the National Lampoon’s Christmas movie. Worryingly, the older I get the more I find myself sympathising with Clark, and the various unfortunate events which befall him. What is beautiful about the movie, is that through the chaos and calamity there is – in the end – a story of beauty. Little, if anything, goes right in the movie until the end, when there is peace, joy and hope. I don’t just love it because it’s funny. I love it because it reminds me of the true story of Christmas.
As we celebrated at Chapel on Monday, at Christmas we remember the arrival of Jesus. We often start that story with angels, or a manger or shepherds. But it goes back long before that. Because to understand the meaning of Christmas we need to understand why God chose to enter our world as a human in the first place. He did it because our world needed rescuing; from sin, from darkness, from despair. We needed someone who could overcome evil, instead of being overcome by it. It was fitting that Jesus’ birth was chaotic: no proper rooms available, to a young and unmarried couple, visited by low-class shepherds. It was fitting because Jesus came to take the chaos of our messy world – the chaos of our messy and restless hearts – and bring it to peace.
As we reach the end of a chaotic, hectic, restless and challenging year, I want to finish by pointing you to the One who offers rest and peace. The One whose plans – unlike mine, or Clark Griswald’s – always work for good. And the One whose birth – quietly, and unexpectedly – 2000 years ago, made possible a hope, joy, forgiveness and life that can shine light into the darkest night. May you look to and find that hope this Christmas. And watch Lampoon’s Christmas, remembering the God who brings beauty from chaos!