if Christmas is hard and your soul is weary, this one is for you.
I didn't expect the tears, as my eyes recognized what was falling from the grey sky were snowflakes.
And I spoke about this feeling just yesterday with a friend...this longing that aches...this sorrow that allows itself into the boxes of garland and bows that we take down in great anticipation. This sadness that fills the air in our homes, competing with the scents of gingerbread and pine. How traditions and memories are beautiful reminders of a well loved life, until they suddenly aren't. Because without fail, sweet friends...things well loved, are lost. Because it is inevitable, dear Sisters, that life will one day look different, and once filled chairs around the holiday table will be empty, and it will be up to us to hang the ornaments of the life that is no longer present, literally and physically, or perhaps what can feel even worse, emotionally. New memories are about to be made, and traditions can come to a sudden halt, and none of this is ever up to us, is it? Ready or not...here they come. So strap on that smile. Light the tree. Invite the guests. Christmas is coming, no matter how you feel.
And what a gift that is.
Can I get an AMEN for that?
Because Jesus Christ, who comes to save, is not a feeling.
Because love, at its truest form was never, and will never be, about feelings.
Feelings come and go, like seasons and snowfalls and iphones and those last five pounds.
Please tell me, you place your hope in something more reliable than how you feel.
I was listening to Matt Maher sing O,Come, O Come, Emmanuel while in the shower. And through the rush of the water, the bridge of the song echoed loud in my ears:
Rejoice, again, I say, rejoice For unto us is born the Savior of the world Take heart, oh weary soul, take heart For help is on its way And Holy is His name
I sat with this verse all day, in particular, Take heart, oh weary soul, take heart, For help is on its way...
Have you ever waited for help?
Can you remember how you felt when you first spotted that help had arrived?
I do not know too many people who do not find Advent and Christmas difficult. A season of tradition, and memories that once involved nothing more than you running out of bed way too early to see what Santa brought you...or, you grabbing a cup of coffee because your kids got up way too early and excited, and are demanding you take them to the magic that they know is there waiting, underneath the tree. This time of year has the remarkable ability to point out everything in your life that no longer is. That you no longer have. What you fear you will never get back. And to that I say....
Take heart, oh weary soul, take heart, For help is on its way...
It is so ridiculously ironic, isn't it? That the season that delivers to us EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED...the season that gifts us with THE ONLY THING WE WANT...the season that takes all that longing and aching and sorrow and swaddles it up and serves it on hay as a sweet baby boy and says HERE IS YOUR HELP....is the same season that with all the lights and the glitter blinds us to this truth.
Kids will grow up and no longer believe what we do.
Loved ones will move far away.
The family glue gets old.
The world steals our innocence.
Children die too young.
Dreams are shattered.
Hope barely hangs on.
Sons and daughters become untethered.
Spouses betray us.
We betray spouses.
Bank accounts are empty.
Addiction kidnaps a mother's heart.
Loneliness moves in unexpectedly.
Fear becomes your blanket.
Souls grow weary.
You see, the world's Christmas...the secular one that is shoved down our throats...puts a magnifying glass on all of these things, making them so big, that there is no room to see anything else. And so, I urge you; those that fall into this seasonal trap...widen your lens. Quiet your heart. Turn the world off. Because if you don't, you miss the entire thing. The hay, and the hope and the baby. You miss the help that is on His way.
And I am grateful that the unexpected tears moved me from the snowfall and the blanket, and took it to the blank screen and keyboard, instead. Because I realize now that the snow did not make me sad because it reminded me of happier Christmas times...but rather, the snowfall released necessary tears of grateful joy; tears that reminded me of the miracle yet to come. The help I am waiting for. The Savior that I am certain will rescue us all. Like a gentle snowfall, His grace will come down. Turning the desert into a marshland, dry ground into springs of water, giving drink to the afflicted and needy, seeking water in vain.
If this season is hard for you - if Christmas is nothing but a painful reminder of the hurt you carry all year long -
O, weary soul, take heart.
For help is on its way.
And Holy is His name.