Monday, November 30, 2015

Because Christmas Isn't Always The Happiest Season Of All

I don't know about you, but I can't remember the last time the Christmas season rang in and everything around me smelled like fresh cut pine trees, tasted like candy canes and brought with it the giddy excitement of ornament exchanges and white elephant gifts.  Ok, so maybe the smells and tastes have always found a warm place in my heart, but the circumstances surrounding the Christmas tree and candy canes haven't always been the most joyous of occasions.

My memories of the "un-perfect Christmas" track back to nearly a decade ago.

The Christmas seasons since have been sprinkled with loss.

Loss of...
physical health
loved ones
jobs
financial security
sweet babies I will never see face-to-face until heaven
friendships
spiritual desert
family crisis...

The thing about Christmas is that it makes us not only see all that we have to be thankful for...

the birth of our savior who came to dwell among us,
to love us,
to speak to us,
to teach us,
to exemplify how we ought to live...

but it also brings with it a mirror into the deepest depravity that exists around us.

The failing health of those closest to us,
the emptiness from relationships gone astray,
the insecurity of even the most secure jobs,
financial instability,
incomprehensible loss,
ended or strained friendships,
longing for a touch of the Savior when He has chosen to be silent,
the foolish choices of loved ones,
all the failures of the past year.

All these things tend to turn this joyous season into a dark hole of hopelessness and despair.

I remember coming back from Uganda 4 years ago WITHOUT my little girl and trying to rationalize the cancelation of Christmas.

But the thing is...
the season is a celebration of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Not the circumstances that surround the season that particular year.

God sent His only Son into the world.
Jesus came to the world to save us.
To love us.
To give us GRACE.
Even in our mess.
BECAUSE of our mess.
And offer a forever, unconditional friendship.
No matter what we are going through in any particular season.

Jesus...the Son of our Heavenly Father, came to bring us Hope.

Hope through the dark season, even if it is during the same time we celebrate His birth.

My friend Travis just tweeted tonight:
"One of the most dangerous and isolating perspectives is 
when you think you are the only one in the world who is going through something."

I can almost guarantee that you are not the only one going through a difficult time this holiday season.
Don't isolate yourself, and don't you dare begin believing the lie that you are all alone.
You don't have to pretend like everything is okay just because it is Christmas.

For most of us it isn't the hap-happiest time of year.

So how do we get through the Christmas season when it seems to be surrounded by so much loss and heartache?

By remembering what the season is truly about.
The joy and hope the birth of Jesus Christ brings.

He is the reason we celebrate this season.
He is the reason we can be motivated to keep breathing that next breathe.
He is the reason we can let go of the past.
He is the reason we can rest assured that the hurt we are currently facing, it isn't in vain.  
The promise that our hurt is NEVER wasted.

Remember who He is and why He came.
He will pull you out of the pit.

I promise.

And if you will let Him, He will refine you and make you a new creation when He pulls you out!
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