So I know I haven’t put up any posts from the #rememberingthegladtidings up here yet. I am doing on my LittleBlossomsForJesus Instagram account right now and I’ll post them here all together probably on Saturdays. Anyhow! Today I have a guest post written by a very dear friend. Enjoy!
I have so many dreams and beautiful ideas for Christmas this year, that my heart just seems full to bursting!
Oh, of course, I don’t expect much to happen this year—rather less than usual, in fact. I expect many delightful pleasures to fall to the ground like shattered balls slipping from the glittering tree of Christmases past. I expect there to be darkness and disappointment and moments where I just wonder to myself where the light and the hope have gone.
I expect clouds to drift across the Christmas sky—maybe even obscuring my feeble glimpses of the Bethlehem Star.
But it’s okay. Really, it is. Because Christmas is about a lot more than stars and lights and beautiful decorations. It’s about more than family and friends and gathering together to celebrate the prosperity and plenty God has given us.
It’s okay that there might not be many gifts beneath our tree this year. It’s okay that we might not share in the treasured rituals of years past.
It’s not okay, of course. But it’s okay that it’s not okay.
The beautiful thoughts swirl around me like snowflakes teasing my senses only to be snatched away before I can quite collect them all. I wonder what a snowflake collection would look like, if I could collect them.
Anyway—here they are. As many of them as I could snatch from the chill breezes that are blowing through my life and pin down to be examined and admired beneath the microscope-lens of imagination.
This Christmas, a lot of things are missing. A lot of things are wrong. A lot of things are nothing like what I ever dreamt they would be. This year—it beckoned with promise. And it deceived me. It wasn’t like anything I imagined it would be, and I grieve that. Sometimes, I struggle against it. But in the end, I really believe I have to just accept it.
Accept it with all the warts and all the imperfections . . . I pause and almost gasp as I write those words. Imperfections! That’s what this year was supposed to be all about, wasn’t it?
Embracing Imperfection. I can just picture how beautiful that idea looked, all glittering with promise and expectancy, when I chose it as my motto for this year. This year that was a mess—only I didn’t know it then. This year that was heartrending—in ways I couldn’t have fathomed then. This year that defied everything I thought I knew about myself and the world.
This year that shouldn’t have been.
I guess—if I’m honest—I really have to admit—
You can’t embrace imperfection if everything goes right.
Honestly, I wonder why I didn’t see that back then. Maybe it was just God blindfolding my eyes so I wouldn’t shrink back from the steps He was calling me to take.
So I took that step—I said I wanted to embrace who I was, with all my imperfections and frailties and mistakes. And have I? I’d like to say that I have. Of course—I can always keep growing. Sometimes there are moments when I think I haven’t changed at all.
But deep down, I know I have.
And so—the thought came to me—if I’ve learned to accept myself, why do I so often refuse to let God accept me? Oh, of course, I say I let God accept me. I know all the right answers, and I think I believe them too.
But do I actually let God come in and accept the messiness of me, the messiness of my life, the hundred-and-fifty ways that everything about me is not what it should be? Or do I try to let God accept only the good parts of me? The show-parts. The parts that seem beautiful and good and noble.
But those aren’t the parts that need Him. Those are the parts that have already gotHim.
What if—what if I let go, and just let Him in. Let Him come and join me in the messiness and the heartbreak and the tragedy?
After all—He was willing to be born in a stable. He was willing to touch the lepers, to eat with the publicans, to tread the dusty streets of Galilee, and die a messy and shameful death.
Is He the one who has a problem with the messiness of life? Or is it only me, in my foolishness, who thinks He will?
And so, what I want to do this Christmas is to Embrace Emmanuel. To invite Him into the messiness of this Christmas—the empty places, the dark places, the hurting, aching places—just to reach out and squeeze His hand when there’s nothing more I can do.
Not to pretend away the hardship, but to invite Him into the midst of it.
After all, that’s what Emmanuel means—God with us. God in the midst of us. God in our mess and our shame and our pain, gently, tenderly reaching out His hand and saying, “I’ve got this. I’m here. I won’t ever leave you no matter how bad it gets. I came to heal the broken-hearted. I came to deliver the captive. I came into the mess and for the mess, and I came to be with you.”
Maybe this Christmas will be disappointing in many ways. Maybe it won’t be as “fun” as it is some years. But by God’s grace, what I long to do, is to reach out into the darkness and clasp His hand—and find that, after all, Emmanuel was all that I needed for Christmas to be everything it was ever meant to be.
With my hand in Yours, dear Saviour, how can Christmas be anything but beautiful?
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