Wednesday, December 24, 2014

When It Just Doesn't Feel Like Christmas

He is With Us
There's a wreath on my door, a lit tree in my living room, & Silent Night is playing over the radio, but it just doesn't feel like Christmas...  I wish I could say I'm writing this in retrospect - that this feeling {or lack of feeling} was not happening this year, but somewhere safely healed over in my past.  But, nope.  It's here & now in this year.

Some Decembers roll in & out & the warmth of Christmas eludes us.  The causes are innumerable & unique: death, depression, lost jobs, unfilled dreams, life changes, illness, loneliness, commercialism, expectations, family feuds...  Sometimes it's even unnameable as to the reason why.  My own story this year involves a combination of broken family ties - divorce - & the fact that this Christmas {& the ones to come} just won't look like Christmases of the past.  New normals are seldom easily established, but this time of year makes it doubly hard.

However, there is hope.  There is hope.  Those words stir something deep down.  Christmas is all about hope & love.  God came down into our darkness, weakness, & messy sinful, broken world to bring a Light of Hope, which demonstrates better than any calligraphy-scripted Bible verse His love for us.  He came down here!

He is with us.  Emmanuel is here.  Even when it doesn't feel like it, & we need the wisdom of retrospect that we just don't have right now, but one day will, to know that yes, He was there with us when Christmas just didn't feel like Christmas.  When pain was deep & the night was long & the tears were caught by Him in so many jars, He was present & He is the present given that first Christmas to compel an unworthy world to embrace an unbelievable worth.  You are of great worth & value to the King.  Immeasurably.

I found myself visiting a dear friend in the nursing home recently, & I stayed with her to listen to a Christmas concert.  Going through the motions, I put a smile on my face & shared it with the group of singing volunteers, my friend, & the other graying residents of the home.  I clapped at the end of each song, & kept my mask on perfectly {almost fooling myself}, until one old gentleman requested "Away in a Manger."  When these lyrics were sung & I looked over to see the gentleman softly singing the words, my disguise slipped...

 I love thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky.
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay,
Close by me forever, & love me, I pray!

Tears itched to spill out, & I looked away, trying to readjust my almost undone masked facade.  No matter the feelings, or lack thereof, no matter the hurt & struggle, Jesus desires to be with us this season & always - that is why He came.  Even when we can't feel His presence, He is close by our side.  I pray that He will give you a strength & joy through Christ this season.  He is with you, no matter the feeling, no matter the sorrow.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, & shall bring forth a Son, & they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
-Matthew 1:23

Merry {Christ}mas & Much Love to the Hurting,

1 comment:

  1. Dear friend,

    Though my circumstances have been generally positive, it's been harder for me to find joy this Christmas. Thank you for your honest, meaningful post.

    Sending hugs your way,


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