Yesterday afternoon I got to stand in the back of our church's worship center and I got to watch the kids from our faith community practice telling the Nativity story. This year our church just thought that since Jesus entered this world as a child, and embraced children, that we should have our kids remind us of the very thing we celebrate at Christmas.Here's the thing though. As much as our kids had dressed up, and practiced their lines and their songs, this dress rehearsal was a little - what's the word - loose. Lines were forgotten. Children forgot where to stand. Parents sat on the edge of their seats suffering with their kids as they tried to remember their parts. Adults discussed in the background where to hang lights, and where to put the worship band. Yeah, it was loose - but it was also beautiful because even in the loose dressed rehearsal we were reminded that Emmanuel (God with us) has come and we are now a people of hope.The truth is the first Christmas was far from perfect and very loose. The Son of God was born to an unwed woman, and born in a stable. The outside world was a violent and dangerous place for everyone and most of all a vulnerable baby. Jesus and his parents had to flee to a foreign country and live as refugees. It was all so very loose, and yet in the loose mess of the actual story came the redemption of our world.If you join us at Faith Community Church this Christmas eve, the Christmas story is going to be told in the most honest way possible, which may prove to be more than a little loose, but it will also remind us of our living hope that is very real. Merry Christmas!