I clearly remember when my wife, Lissa, and I first pulled into the valley in 1998. We were in love with the mountains, the people and the simplicity of life.

Why is it that in the past 20 years, life has become so much more complex?

For example, the other day while skiing Teton Pass, as I dropped down the nose of Edelweiss Bowl, my brain repeated in a Swiss ski-coach accent, “Shift your center of gravity from inside the turn to above the base of support. Flatten your skis on the snow. Roll your ankles. Move your hips and upper body above the base of support. Initiate pole swing at the apex.” Sheesh!

This time of year can become especially complex. Even something as simple as getting a Christmas tree can drift toward complex. I mean, where does one find a hypoallergenic, free-range, gluten-free Douglas fir?

And our schedules? One needs the prowess of an air-traffic controller from LaGuardia to properly schedule and attend all the Christmas parties, cookie-decorating gatherings and Christmas luncheons.

Yet at the center of this complex season lies the simplest event in human history: the birth of Jesus. He wasn’t born in the metropolis of Jerusalem; he arrived in the little hamlet of Bethlehem and was placed in a feed trough. There were no fancy gender-reveal parties or Instagram-worthy photo shoots. In fact, this momentous event was announced only to some outcast shepherds.

The good news of Jesus is beautiful in its simplicity. We all have a deep longing to connect with the divine. And God himself longs to dwell in and with the pinnacle of his creation — mankind.

Yet, there is a problem. Man has broken God’s moral law, and as a result there is separation between the Creator and his creation.

In an effort to restore that relationship, religion steps in and complicates everything. We have invented myriad ways to “earn” our right standing with God. Yet God has made it clear we can never close the gap with our own effort.

So how does the sin-stained hand of man embrace the hand of a holy God? The solution is brilliant in its simplicity.

Out of his reckless love for us, God became a man, lived the human experience with all of its joy and pain, and yet was without sin. That qualified him to pay the price for our sin by dying on a cross. His sacrifice restored our right relationship with God.

This Christmas I invite you to take time to step away from the complexity of this season and consider the simplicity of the Gospel. Christmas is the remembrance that God gave the gift of his son to mankind. Receiving that gift is the simplest, best way to celebrate.

From my Tribe to yours, Merry Christmas. You got this!

Each year for the edition preceding Christmas, the News&Guide’s editorial board turns over its space to a person of faith. Pastor and self-professed ski bum Brian Hunter serves the congregation of Tribe JH. Contact him via editor@jhnewsandguide.com, or email us to suggest someone to pen next year’s inspirational message.

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