Hello dear readers. I’m still in my pajamas at ten o’clock on Christmas Eve morning, sitting in front of a fire and intentionally slowing my pace for the next few days. I still have things to do – presents to wrap, a ball of cookie dough to divvy into little balls and bake and a table to be set – but I am definitely taking a few days off from work. However, first I wanted to touch base with you and wish you the merriest Christmas.
We are thrilled to have Abigail with us this Christmas. Since she is getting married in May we know that Christmases with the kids will probably start being every-other-year affairs. But she and her fiancé, Andrew, decided to spend the holiday separately with their respective families this year. He will be joining us the day after Christmas for about a week, and we’re definitely looking forward to that time.
Daniel and Stephanie will not be with us this year. We met him at a halfway point between Cincinnati and Columbus yesterday just for a short visit. Since Stephanie is a pediatrician and needs to be at work consistently, they feel like it’s best to minimize any chances of getting or spreading the Coronavirus. I hate this illness and what it has done to life as we knew it. But, like many of you, we will choose joy and celebrate the hope of Emmanuel despite our current circumstances.
Really, my children’s absence from our celebration is a mild inconvenience compared to what I know many of my readers are enduring this holiday season. I know from your emails and comments that many of you have lost your spouse or other dearly loved ones this year, not necessarily due to the pandemic, but to some equally destructive force of this broken world we live in. Please know that you are on my heart at this time. I cannot imagine the mixed emotions you must feel during Christmas. I am praying for you today, dear friend.
My prayer is that you will experience God’s presence and comfort throughout this holiday season and beyond like never before. I pray that He brings to your mind His words of comfort and peace, and that you feel and experience His grace and love in abundance, both through that gentle, spiritual presence and the gifts, encouragements and gestures from loved ones. Here is a scripture I read just today that I encourage you to cling to if your heart is aching this Christmas:
Please know that God can and will heal your hurting heart. Lean into Him during this season of grief and know that He can turn your sorrow into rejoicing once again, as foreign as that thought may seem.
Honestly, my own heart is a little heavy this morning, just thinking about the uncertainty and stress that we all live with in this world right now. Regardless of where you stand on political and social issues (that we absolutely will not address here on this blog), I know that we all grieve for the things we have lost in the past two years. Life feels a little harder than in recent years, a little more confusing. Even our celebrations feel bittersweet these days. And changes seem to be happening at such a rapid pace that we begin to feel a little like we’re on a run-away train that is taking twists and turns at a perilous speed.
Oh my goodness, sweet lady, please know that I struggle with those same anxious thoughts that keep you awake some nights and to which you awaken afresh some mornings. They take the breath out of me at the strangest times.
But I also know in my core that God is in control. I know that He is good and able and involved. I read these verses just yesterday in my daily Bible reading. They’re from Habakkuk, one of my favorite books in the Bible.
Habakkuk: “How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and You will not hear? I cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; strife exists and contention arises…”~ Habakkuk 1:2-3
God: “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days-You would not believe if you were told.”~ Habakkuk 1:5
This Christmas, as we remember that God quietly sent a Savior into the world in a small village on the backside of nowhere, only alerting a group of smelly shepherds and band of traveling wise men, let’s rest assured that He is still “doing something” in this mixed up world of ours. Just because we don’t see or hear or even feel His work does not mean He is idle. Let’s trust God is at work. God has not abandoned us; but He is intricately and powerfully involved in the affairs of men.
Plus, He has promised to always be with us through the person of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. Let’s rejoice in Emmanuel, God with us, this Christmas.
Well, I really didn’t mean to preach us a sermon, but taking this little time with you in front of my fire this morning has helped me to gain a little perspective. Isn’t that the way it works? As we try to encourage and strengthen others we find a little renewed hope and faith for ourselves? I do so badly want us all to enter into this weekend with hope, faith and love. I like to say that hope gets us back up on our feet, faith get us walking in the right direction again and love causes us to engage well with others and do a little good along the way.
So my Christmas wish for you is that you lay hold of those three precious commodities: hope, faith and love. Lay hold of them and then give them to someone else, too. There is no gift you can wrap and put under the tree that is as valuable and meaningful as taking a few minutes to pass on the gifts of hope, faith and love.
Bless you, dear ladies! You are precious indeed to me. Thank you for all your well wishes and regards in recent posts. I read each and every comment, and they are such a blessing and encouragement to me. If I don’t reply usually it’s just because I feel like I talk here so much anyhow. And I like to let you have the floor, so to speak, in the comments. I wish you all a merry Christmas, whether you are alone or your home is full of visitors. I pray that you all stay healthy and safe, too. But most of all I wish you a full and deep understanding of God’s love for you, expressed through His gift of Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer.
I Welcome Your Comments
I always love to hear from my readers in the comments. I will be taking at least a few days off to focus on the meaning of the season and to enjoy my family and friends. So unless you have a specific question, I probably will not reply to comments here. But you can rest assured that I read every comment. Your thoughts are important to me. I value you!