A few weeks ago I sat down to write and realized I was about to enter the holiday season. All I could muster up was an emphatic "UGH!" It was just a few months earlier I eagerly played Christmas music during the late-summer's heat! How could I be so disenchanted by "the most wonderful time of the year"!?! Instead of dragging my feet into this season... this is what happened.
I decided I need to have a "new" focus for this Christmas, Christ! The gift of life, the ultimate humble, selfless sacrifice of love. And because of this I'm probably not sending out any Christmas cards. I'm probably not planning family photos (I've decided the New Year might be a more appropriate time for that). I'm considering making some candy, but that's not even a sure thing. This year, I'm not just going to do any of those things out of obligation.
I do plan to spend more time in God's word and in prayer. I want to give to others, to those near to me, and those in places not overwhelmed by the excessiveness of Western culture. Where they might worry about a clean house, but they have dirt floors. I want to be abundantly aware of how immensely SPOILED I am.
I think we say frivolously say "oh, we are so 'blessed' to live here or to have all these nice things," but isn't that grossly understated? Somehow we think we need cathdral ceilings and to have our homes or bodies look like those in the magazines we read.
Reality check! We are not just fortunate but we are richly, abundantly, blessed in ways we rarely realize. We live in a country where we are given the opportunity to learn to read, write, work, be paid for that work, experience a huge amount of freedom, justice and privacy. Yet many of us feel entitled to be free of things such as: disease, crabby and stubborn people, consequences for poor choices, back-breaking hard work, accidents, hindrances and a stressful situations. No wonder we experience devastation when life goes differently than we planned---a flood, tornado or hurricane ARE devastating when they destroy the materials we've grown to love and depend on. O how I want to be blessed by the beauty around me---but not be distracted by it!!!
Beyond my comfortable and luxurious life are people hurting and people with needs I know little of. The man sitting across from me might be grieving in a way I cannot comprehend. A child on my street might not know what hope is because of a life of abuse and abandonment. My heart breaks for the pain of an amount of individuals I cannot comprehend and the host of pain they experience. Yet God knows every detail and the extent of every pain, He catches every tear. How BIG is He and His LOVE---that He can handle all that hurt. And He doesn't just cope with it. He grieves with us, He never leaves, and He alone knows and IS the path to healing. He is our hope.
Thank you for tagging along on my heart's tangent. But really, it brings me back to Christmas. He's the only way I can focus on what matters this season. Each person that Christ came to the earth for matters. YOU are the reason He came.
So my hope is to let Him show me how I can love you this season. If I send a card, make or give something, it's going to have my heart in it. If anyone feels His love through something I've done---it's only because of His power and for His glory.
Stay in His peace this season! He's really not about the hustle or bustle... but I know you can find Him there, too! Merry Christmas!