Twinkling lights and carols and manger scenes. Crackling fires and candlelight and sugar cookies. Packages and whispered secrets. Advent readings and hope held softly.
Where are you, Christmas?
The memories of last year haunt me, and I am holding back from stirring all that up in my heart. Sometimes it is just easier to stay in the shallow places.
But there is a stubborn joy that summons me. Calls me out of my sadness, hums when I am least inclined to listen. It rises gently, like the sun rising after a long and stormy night.
It stills my soul and softens grief.
Because I remember Christmas.
I remember delighted children and stories read by Christmas tree light. I remember kitchen messes and sticky fingers and the lingering smell of cinnamon.
I remember the warmth of love, how it would catch in the back of my throat, tears filling my eyes at the most mundane of moments.
I remember chaos and laughter and joy.
That is what I remember.
But I know without question there were other emotions present, other happenings. I know there were arguments and melt-downs and impatience. Stress and pressure and exhaustion.
I know that I was often overwhelmed. That calm felt far away at times.
And I feel that now. A searching for peace in this grief that threatens to swallow me. A need for renewal of joy and a contented heart. For truthful worshipping.
Searching for Christmas. Searching for Christ.
And remembering why He came.
Because He came to rescue from all the doing and trying and failing. To rescue from all the darkness and sin inside of us. The sin that separates us from God and never leaves us–selfishness and pride and unbelief. The sin of falling short and never doing enough, never being enough.
Infant child and mighty God–He came to save us.
And He is the only one who can fill that empty place in us. Bring light to our hearts and minds. Give us hope and a future. Provide a way to peace with God.
He is the one who can hold us up, carry us in our weakness. He can put our feet on a rock and make our paths straight. He can revive and restore and bring peace.
He can heal all of the broken places inside of us. The churning and the doubting and the grasping. The longing for more or for different. The disquiet. The sorrow.
He can satisfy. He can penetrate all the hurting places. He can make all things new.
He can still the sadness, speak peace into the not-so-silent night.
Won’t you let Him?
O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.