Christmas Longings


godwithusAs I enter the home stretch of the holiday season, I am feeling a muddle of emotions. Tinges of sadness mixed with moments of excitement are dancing around with sighs of relief and bits of regrets. So much is demanded of us all during this time of year. There are presents to be bought, gifts to be wrapped, cards to be sent, food to be cooked, events to attend. And all this on top of everyday life.

It’s always about this time of the month, the home stretch, when I begin to feel that one day soon I am going to be sitting down with my cup of coffee and a good book and breathing in some down time. It’s the almost-and-yet-not-quite-home stretch. The just-one-more-gift-to-buy, one-more-thing-I-forgot, one-more-thing-to-check-off-the-list, I’m-almost-done-feeling. The if-I-can-just-get-through-one-more-busy-day kind of emotion. The I-can-hang-on-one-more-day-even-though-I’m-exhausted-because-I-know-it’s-almost-here kind of tiredness.

The mixed emotions just sort of linger around inside me. The sadness of those I miss. My dad. My brother. The regrets of the past year. The my-daughter-is-in-Texas-and-I’m-in-Alabama kind of feeling. The anticipation of seeing my three-year-old granddaughter open her gifts. The joy of spending time with family. The sadness of a mother with dementia who couldn’t remember my birthday this week.

I am thankful for the past year. It’s had its challenges as all years do, but it’s also had its joys. Did I mention I have a new grandbaby, a grandson, who is the sweetest little boy on earth?

I imagine that many of you have the same sort of emotions. What should we do in response?

For me, it’s the time of year to regroup. To take a Sabbath. To tune in and tune up. To seek restoration of body, soul, and spirit. To celebrate the joys, grieve the losses, cry the tears, and sit with the questions. To be more deeply connected to the reality of God and His presence in my life.

To believe that Immanuel, God with us, is truly the tipping point for us all and to live fully alive aware of His presence with us and in us.

Such a process renews my vision and restores my soul.

Christ with us. Christ in us. The hope of glory. The reason that Christmas can be merry and bright amidst the muddle of emotions. 

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