Where are my fellow introverts? I know you’re out there, but you’re probably hunkered down with a blanket over your head. Why do I know? Because I am, too! Christmas party season just wears me out. It’s not even from the being busy standpoint. More in terms of waaaayyyy too many people, often in tight places.
It was a both a mercy and a trial to have all our Christmas parties fall in the same week this year. And actually, it was even more compact than that! I went to 5 parties in 6 days, but actually 4 of them were in 3 days! That’s a lot of people and conversation for this introvert!
Not that I didn’t have some great conversations. And some great food. But all at one time like that overwhelms me. And several days in a row really does me in.
I was thinking about all this while also turning my mind to the original story of Christmas. We tend to think of Christmas party season as a phenomenon of the modern world that is in great contrast to the birth of Jesus. And yet suddenly I wondered about that first Christmas—Bethlehem crowded with people who’d come for the census and probably taking the opportunity to get together with friends and family. The inn so full they couldn’t even stuff in two more people. The shepherds out in what was generally a crowd of only sheep and each other but suddenly surrounded by a heavenly host filling up the sky and inviting the shepherds to a birthday party. Those same shepherds cramming into the stable with the little family, everyone wanting to see the baby.
See? People and parties everywhere!
I have to believe there were some introverts involved, cringing at the crowds, wanting to find a quiet nook for a deep conversation or just some alone time. Because human beings haven’t changed all that much through time. They might not have been able to identify the characteristics of an introvert, but that does’t mean they didn’t exist!
So who might it have been? One of the shepherds, maybe enjoying a moment away from the others but drawn back in by the appearance of an angel? And willing to endure a crowd to see this phenomenon announced by a messenger of God Himself?
Perhaps the innkeeper? Maybe he had a little space for himself and his family and even a heavily pregnant woman couldn’t persuade him to give up even a bit more of it.
Maybe even Mary or Joseph! Could that have been part of the reason for the stable—God giving Mary and Joseph a little separation from the constant press of the crowds? A place with a little privacy? A bit more peace?
Of course this is all my imagination, and yet I feel like there had to be at least one introvert who found himself or herself at that first Christmas party. They might have clung to the corners, wishing for some personal space. Or longed to return home, to their own corner pallet where they could breath. But in the end, would they have chosen to miss this party? No. Getting out of their comfort zone allowed them to witness the long-promised Messiah. To gawk with wonder at what God had done.
And so I pray that both you and I will continue to watch and wonder this season, even in the midst of Christmas crowds, for God to reveal Himself in situations we might not choose and in ways we don’t expect.