Our family has been enduring quite a series of trials in the past 3 months. These trials have been painful and stretched us mightily as a family. In some ways it has strengthened us, in other ways, it has rocked our world in a way that still has us reeling as we try to find some stability in the wake of the earth shaking which has endangered some of the things we value as a family.
So in the face of this low time…here comes Christmas!
Christmas…our favorite holiday, built around many fun and bonding traditions.
Christmas…a time where, at some point, we all are together, laughing and sharing our lives.
Things will be very different and those differences are hurting my heart. I'm mourning the Christmas that I know and love. I've had a horrible time even smiling and wishing people I encounter a cheery, "Merry Christmas". I just couldn't bring myself to say it when I felt like my Christmas will be anything but "Merry". (I know, I know, painfully selfish of me)
But, as usual, God spoke to me today. During worship at church this morning, the first song we sang had these lyrics, "To the unchanging one. To the unfailing one…"
God instantly spoke to my heart. My traitorous heart. My heart which had taken God from his throne and replaced it with my kids and our traditions. While there is nothing wrong with loving my kids and enjoying their presence as we participate in traditions we all love, there is something very wrong when I replace the reason for those traditions. Christ is the reason we celebrate. Christ is the reason we can be happy. His birth, life and death are the reasons to celebrate, and those things will never change, whether we are all together or not! Whether we get to do our usual traditions or not. It shouldn't matter. God will never change. Our earthly circumstance
I can be glad for the kids that do get to celebrate with us, no matter if it is the whole crew or not. I can be glad for the traditions we get to celebrate, regardless of who is there to participate. I can be glad because God is faithful and loves me enough to speak specifically to me through a praise song. I can be glad that we will look back on this Christmas as the year that God got us through a tough time.
Because He is and will always be…I can be joyful!
So this afternoon as I checked out at a store, I looked the harried clerk in the eye and said, "Merry Christmas!" Yup, I said it, I meant it and it felt great!!