What I’m Holding Onto This Christmas

CandleYou’re probably seeing the same things I’m seeing these days: Christmas trees twinkling, white wire reindeer grazing on lawns, cookies frosted in red and green lining the shelves of the grocery store bakery… for Thanksgiving has come and gone, bringing us into the midst of another Advent season.

It’s a strange time of year, isn’t it?  We’re told by most Christmas songs blaring over the store’s speakers that we’re supposed to be jolly and full of festive cheer… but that’s not all that Christmas brings to us.  For me, it also brings nostalgia for my childhood and a yearning to create a sense of wonder in my kids… it brings an awareness of another year of my life coming to an end… it’s a reminder of the stark contrasts of our world: those who have an abundance of all they need and those who – simply – don’t. December brings the darkest days of the year and sometimes those shadowy edges of our days feel unnerving, uncertain.

This year, especially, the world does feel heavy with pain and so fragile…

but, then, it always has been.

That’s why we needed our Savior to come.

It’s why we still need Him now.

This is the side of Christmas I need the most this year: Mary and Joseph saying ‘yes’ to God’s purpose even when they couldn’t understand it all, a people who would not give up hope of rescue even in their time of fear, the unlikely manger becoming the bed for a King who could not leave His people hopeless, the brightest and most wondrous words coming in the dark of night to ordinary men:

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people; for there is born to you this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10)

The glitter and the “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” are fun, and I’m sure there will be  moments for that kind of festivity ~ but I am leaning on the every-day-and-all-year-round-truths that undergird the celebration: Christ has come. Christ is with us.

He is with you. He is with me.

The One who loves us does not leave us.  He is steadfast in His love… He waits for us to welcome Him, waits with a heart yearning for us, and once we do ~ He is here.  He bears our pain.  He understands our sorrow.  He takes away our fear.  He gives us His own righteousness to wear instead of our sin and shame.  When the darkness descends, He shows us the beauty and power of His light.

In the middle of it all, we have the hope of His unfailing love ~

and this love is my candle steadily burning bright, my consolation, my peace, and the hope of every tomorrow held in His hands.


(I know how busy and overwhelming this season can be… so I’ve decided to pick up our journey through Genesis with Together We Follow in full-force this January.  Until then, I’ll be sharing the music, poetry, and art that quiets my heart and re-focuses my eyes on what matters most during the Christmas season.)

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