Here’s why Christmas means wonderful hope for your family

I wanted to tell Jerry the trees in his backyard Christmas tree farm are too neat. Too many straight edges. They don’t look real. Everybody knows real, living things feel a little ragged and unpredictable. Which should encourage those of us in ragged, unpredictable families; we’re part of something real and alive.

When God does big things, he starts with family

And it starts at the top, at the core of God himself: God says he is the father and Jesus is his son. They have a FAMILY relationship.

Then God created a nation to bring his son the savior into the world. That nation started with the FAMILY of Abraham and Jacob.

God made a promise to that nation. When he fulfilled the promise to the nation that started with a family, he started again with another family. The son of God was born into a FAMILY, with a mom and a dad, brothers and sisters.

So your family is part of something that’s a big deal to God. Family is his idea; he loves it; he delights in it; he uses it. You’re part of an institution created for glory.

When God does big things, he starts small and grows it

The work Jesus came to do would be done by the adult Jesus. Why start with a baby? Why take thirty years to get him to adulthood? Isn’t that a waste of time? Isn’t it risky? Why put him on the same path as every human ever born? Shouldn’t he be an exception? Why choose the slow way for such an important mission?

God must take great pleasure in patience.

Are your expectations for change and growth in your family more aggressive than God’s? Is what you see small and baby-sized and far from adult-hood? Are you in a bigger hurry for family progress than God was for mankind’s redemption?

When God does big things, he uses unimposing common leftovers

Jesus entered earth at a place where animals were born and fed. Do you think one of the first things he smelled was straw and dung? Straw is what’s left when the good stuff’s taken out, and dung is too. Can you have a more unimposing, common beginning than that?

Your family’s problems, issues, and limitations may stink, but probably not more than the stink in that stable. And Jesus was put there on purpose.


So if you’re in a family, but the progress of your family hopes and dreams feels stagnant, and you don’t see how you can get past all this junkie stuff; you’re in good company. That’s how God saved the world.

What’s slow and stinky – and ripe for the hope of Christmas – in your family right now?

About the Author


Gary Morland helps you feel better about your most challenging family relationships, and helps you actually improve those relationships - all by adopting simple attitudes, perspectives, expectations, and actions (the same ones that changed him and his family).


  1. “Are you in a bigger hurry for family progress than God was for mankind’s redemption?”

    December brings about the desire for everything to be fixed by the 25th. This is a great reminder to take a deep breath, to love and be in the middle of the mess. Thanks!!!!

    • seems like the season that should be most peaceful is the most rushed, doesn’t it? Thank you.

  2. Life Takes Over

    As always, a very timely post. Thanks for the reminder to slow down. It’s not so much the rush of daily life and life in general, but the idea that we have to get somewhere that’s bogging my family down. We don’t take the time to enjoy the moments we have together. And as we make progress with each other, we often run into a wall where things seem to take a step backwards rather than forwards and this throws us right off the track if the step backwards is big enough. It is those times when we need to think about the slow progress of God and how his son was sent right into the stink of that stable, to humble beginnings.

  3. Pam Cason

    This is so encouraging to me today. A timely reminder that HE’s working in my family even when I can’t always see forward progress.

  4. janet

    Families can indeed be ragged but I’ve seen God do some amazing things through them and save some families that no expected could be saved. That’s why it’s so sad that families these days are not only fractured but too often not even in existence at all.

    Have a blessed Christmas!


  5. Yuko Kato-Jones

    Thank you for sharing this, Gary. It’s so true. I am learning every day “patience” is part of His plans, even for a person like me. Things grow slow, even during challenging times when we desperately want to move forward, but He never forgets to give us hope. I’m so looking forward to savoring this Advent season. By the way, the Christmas trees in the first pic are absolutely hilarious! – someone did a bad trimming job!

    • ‘things grow slow’ – yes.

      I think the trees are exactly the way he thinks they should be. But the Nester turned around and left :)

      • Yuko Kato-Jones

        That’s too bad! If anyone, the Nester would be the only one who could turn “the world’s worst Christmas tree” into a beauty 😉

  6. lyricpdx

    I like how you’re always keepin’ it so real, Gary!

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