On this Eve of Eves

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It’s a very hard time of year for many people. 
Those who hurt — emotionally, physically, spiritually, psychologically, economically — so many ways to describe hurting. 

When all the commercials and Christmas specials show an idyllic setting for the coming celebration, and yet, you know yours won’t look anything like that.
It hurts. A lot.

I know the difference now. For many years we had the ideal Christmas.

Little ones gathered around a fire.
All dressed in Christmas colors — special outfits for the day.
Ham and turkey, with all the sides, set among an artistic tablescape.
Hand-made name cards…special chocolates set beside.
Loads of desserts with hot spiced cider and endless cups of coffee.
Sitting around singing carols and sharing the Christmas story.

Some years we had a talent show…each of us having prepared beforehand…a poem, a song, a picture, a skit. Something to share with the family. Grandparents and great-grandparents. The newest baby being passed around while the older kids played outside (it’s Texas, we can do that on Christmas day 😛 ). A whole day full of family…togetherness…and great conversation. No subject left untouched. It seemed we had no problems sharing our lives…back then.

But, like I said, I now know the difference.

When tragedy hit our lives, the family seemed to split apart.
Our world was rocked to its core, and as much as we tried to hold it together… pernicious things began to sneak in among us. Maybe it was all a facade before…?

We thought we were being watchful. We hoped we were caring for one another. But, in doing so, we hurt each other even more.
So now. It’s not as it was.

I’ve learned that some people have never experienced the ideal. Their lives have always been a bit less than the Christmas cards portray. I can rejoice that for many years we had it good. And, now that it’s not as lovely, I understand better others’ pain…and actually, I kinda think that’s good.

I heard a song the other day (can’t remember the name) about how Jesus should have been born in a palace, being the King and all. And how curious that God placed Himself in a stable…among His creation…and shepherds — stinky, dirty, the lowest on the Jewish social system — came to worship. But then the point was made: Where else should the Lamb of God be born?

A stable.
Not the ideal.

But perfect, nonetheless.

He sees things we don’t see.
He knows why we are where we are.
He has a plan He promises to complete.

In the frustration and hurt this year, I’m choosing to accept hardship as a pathway to peace. I do know the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God who was born in a dirty, lowly stable…as a lamb should be.

And He makes all the difference.

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6 responses »

  1. Hey there, sobering post you got there. I never had the postcard holidays, but there was still laughter and togetherness. These days they are much different, as you point out. I too cling to the Serenity Prayer for many truths in this life. In my confidence in our savior I must put things into perspective. In the book of Acts, the Apostles had to have the same, if not more dramatic cries of “why?”. I tend to think that just like Paul and Silas in prison, there could be many reasons behind His actions and I am just here to allow His will to be done.
    May you have a blessed Christmas, resting in His redeeming power and be able to “sleep in heavenly peace”….
    Dano

  2. Hey, Dano. Yes, it is. My evening at Celebrate Recovery made me realize how much people are hurting this time of year. But, as you say, Jesus helps to put things into perspective. And being here to fulfill His purpose, to submit to His will, is what I need to continue doing. So that I “may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him, forever, in the next.”

    I pray your Christmas is blessed…sleeping in heavenly peace sounds wonderful. Thank you.

  3. Hello there, my friend.

    Yes, this Christmas is the hardest my husband and I have faced. I hope that it may only be the hardest. We are 750 miles apart this Christmas, with hurt feelings, torn plans, and deep sadness. And you are right–I have discovered this year, through the journey I’ve been taking, a bit more of how it looks like to ‘everybody else.’ And in that really profound way … I’m glad I’m not on the outside so much any more. I’m glad I was given a window into things I definitely didn’t understand. I’m glad I can have compassion so much more fully now than before. I’m glad I can see people as just people … not different kinds of people. I’m still working on that one, but it is SUCH a valuable lesson to be learned.

    For me, this Christmas it will be … oh man, I don’t even know. About family, about safety, about knowing that God is big enough for me. One Christmas will not break our marriage. But it may save our marriage. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know in any event that my God is big enough. THAT … is worth celebrating every day of the year.

  4. Oh, Annie…I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles. I do know of the heartache you must be feeling. All being stripped away and a sense of being raw…not sure which way to turn…except toward Him.

    He is the Rock that is higher.

    And yes, it is profound the way we are taught compassion in this life. He has a work He’s doing that we don’t always get. He’s making us into the vessel of honor He desires to use for His glory. And in the process, we hurt. We scream. We throw temper tantrums. We become disillusioned. We break down and in the breaking, become more malleable. He can shape us better. The Potter has a view of the vessel He’s making…and somehow a stable is part of the process.

    I will be praying for you and yours. I’m asking for Divine Wisdom to speak clearly to you both, so you will have no question of what steps you are to take. I do pray you will have a blessed Christmas with your extended family. And I ask that you will see the beauty in the process of sanctification. As painful as it is, He is doing the deep work. We can trust His plan, Sparkle.

    As you say, He is big enough and so worthy of celebrating every. single. day. I love you. xo

  5. Thank you, my dear. For understanding, for encouraging … for having time for me. :_) I’m having a ‘moment.’ Thanks for being there.

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