Thursday, December 11, 2014

For When Christmas Is Both Joy and Sorrow

I always feel nostalgic this time of year.

I suppose everyone does. My dreams and daydreams and quiet moments, rare as they may be, are flooded with memories.

I remember my first Christmas as Jason's wife. Life was new, again. I woke up with my best friend next to me, and yet, he was a stranger. I'd only known him as my husband for 10 days, and I couldn't get enough of how wonderful and new he was to me.

I remember my Dad. Whom I lost just over 10 years ago to suicide. Who loved Christmas and who loved me - just for being me. Over and over, again. I remember my Dad.

I remember the first Christmas I spent with a broken heart. Everyone around me wore happy, plastic faces, and I wore grief. I was an unlikely Grinch, only my heart had been trampled on and refused to grow, and I desperately wanted to sing with the Whos. I couldn't find my song.

I remember the year I got a baby carriage. It's the first Christmas I remember. I wore my blue, polyester "Chatterbox" nightgown - perfect for the "Will she ever stop talking?" little girl who wore it at age six and still appropriate today - as I pushed my new baby doll around our house on Sherman Avenue. It snowed that year.

I remember Christmas 2004 - my first as a mother. My newborn son was my world. He was the baby in every manger I saw, and "For unto us a child is born; a son is given" made my heart cry out a thousand thanks to God every time I heard or sang or read it.

I remember my Playdoh Fun Factory. And, my hand sewn Cabbage Patch Doll because a "real" one couldn't be found. I remember my first pair of Guess jeans and my karaoke machine. I remember the mixed emotions of Mom's new engagement ring and our new Atari and all of it blends together in one big mental montage of Christmases past.

While we decorated our Christmas tree this year, I sat and wept for what had been. I wept for my Dad, whom I miss so much. I wept because I now have four sons and a daughter, and they are the best gifts I've ever gotten. I wept for the beautiful sacrifice my parents made to give us a toy-filled Christmas each year.

I wept for my broken heart 20 years ago. I wept for the broken hearts of those I love today.

I wept because, given the choice, I would never go back to the hurt and pain, but I want to close my eyes and relive the moments and gifts that took my breath away.

As this memory-filled montage plays over and over this morning, this week, this Christmas season - I look back and see how Christmas has been this broken and beautiful mix of joy and sorrow. And, the more I get to know and love people, it seems that's the way it is for most of us.

Here's what I know about Christmas:

I need the baby in that manger.

In the hard things - the ones that have broken and wrecked my heart - I need a Savior.
In the blessings - I need the One True King that brings eternal joy.
In the mix of hard and blessing - I need the Prince of Peace, whose love never waivers with the sway of my heart.

Jesus. He redeems our past. He redeems today. He is the hope for our future.

Friends - while the world around us grapples with both laughter and tears this season - remembering the past, hurting or joy-filled today, confused about tomorrow - we often forget they are listening and watching, and instead, we grab a megaphone to shout how our various Christmas traditions differ: Santa or no Santa, real or fake, Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, colored or white, one present or ten. We can be so easily lured into launching social grenades at one another as we look to defend our way of celebrating Christmas.

This Christmas, if we can tell anything to the broken, the joy-filled, our children, new mamas holding their newborns, the homeless and orphan, the oppressed and hurting, and every soul who gets to hear, see, and read our voice, can our loudest shout be:

"We have GOOD NEWS to share! Do you want to hear it?"

Out of love for the Gospel, that has the power to SAVE and redeem lives, and the hope-filled message of Jesus' birth, let's not squander this season in the name of who is the "rightest" in how we celebrate. We are in the same army. ALL YEAR LONG. Fighting to share with a hurting world the same GOOD NEWS:

• God will never hand you over to despair.
• God is strong and mighty to save and He will never let go of you.
• God is the Hope you are looking for - this Christmas and every day forward.

Our broken and hurting world needs OUR Savior.
Our blessed and indulged country needs THIS King.

Let's fight, together - however we celebrate this time of year - using this Christmas season to tell the world:

Your Hope.
Your Joy.
Your Peace. In all circumstances.

He's here.


  1. So beautifully said. God have a God given talent in words. You are amazing and it is because you serve an AMAZING GOD. ((hugs))

  2. In general the level of trust [in retailers] is lower." adidas factory outlet australia As a result, a lot of consumer goods companies and retailers in Asia are trying to engage with consumers through social media, and create word of mouth in the virtual world. Retailers that have been successful in cheap adidas originals shoes creating a buzz online are using a range of tactics from promising shoppers discounts if they post "selfies" wearing their merchandise, to creating adidas australia sale online communities based on competitions or events.

  3. I arrived at your blog today via Pinterest, having found your beer bread recipe (which is wonderful, by the way). I decided to look around and I immediately saw this post. How lovely, perfect, and heart-felt. Not only is your message one of peace and love, but it was one I needed on this cold winter afternoon. We can never know where our words will go, so I wanted to tell you that your words found a soul in need today. Thank you, and may God bless you.

  4. One trend that I believe will shape the economy is the growth of income inequality between the rich and poor in nearly every country across the globe. Due to factors such as globalization and outsourcing, commoditizing unskilled and semi-skilled labor, the use of modern technology to facilitate entrepreneurship and execute ideas of the creative class, and the regressive effects of inflation the United States has reached its highest replica watches level of income inequality since the gilded age of the 1870's. This trend has also extended across the globe into Europe and emerging rolex replica economies such as China, Brazil and Russia. This has lead to a boom in demand for luxury goods across Asia and Latin America that more than compensate for slowing chanel replica sales in the West. I think that the luxury goods sector will be one of the winners throughout the next decade as more people reach the upper classes replica handbags of society not only in emerging economies, but in the West as well. The company carries products replica handbags minted in its own brand along with third party jewelry. Investors are cautious towards rising gold and silver prices eroding margins for its jewelry. However, I believe lv replica that Tiffany can win if the prices of precious metals move either way. Since it targets a higher gucci replica end market that is less price sensitive, Tiffany's can raise prices to match the appreciation or gold and silver. If prices go down, Tiffany wins from increased replica louis vuitton margins. Financially, the company is in solid shape with a debt/equity ratio of 0.3, a return on investment of 12%, and chanel replica expected growth of 15% per year over the next five years.

  5. This is wonderful. Thank you for speaking truth so boldly. Also, I just read your post about "to moms of one or two kids" and I couldn't believe some of the comments...well, I could believe them because I had a similar experience with a post of my own going viral a few months ago. But I just wanted to say...keep writing. Keep writing for Him. You are doing beautiful work.

  6. Oh I so needed this toady. Especially the part about Jesus redeeming the past and present. Blessings to you, sweet lady. It is so sweet to see the photos of your littles growing.