Ok, hear me out before you start sending me messages telling me what the true meaning of Christmas is all about...
This past weekend one of my daughters made this statement, "I hate Christmas." I listened to her heart, loved on her, and intended to send her a note later in the week when she was a little more ready to hear it, reminding her that Christmas is all about HOPE, and Jesus coming down to earth as a baby, vulnerable and innocent, because of His love for mankind. Telling her that we cannot allow the circumstances around us to rob us of the joy of this season.
I intended to, but then we had court, and the Grinch (aka the judge) stole Christmas right out from underneath me. He ruled that two of our boys would not be spending Christmas morning with us.
Now another of my daughters said to me, "Mom, I hate Xmas." What she meant was that she hates all the commercialism of Christmas that takes away from the true meaning of the holiday.
Lest you think I am raising a household of Grinches, I assure you that I love Christmas, I love the music, the lights, the decorations, the stockings, the food, the sense of peace on earth, I love all of it. (And for the record, so does my other daughter, Jennah!) I love the traditions of Christmas, or at least I did.
Honestly though, this latest ruling has taken the wind our of my Christmas sail. It is as if the Grinch himself came and took our Christmas tree back up the chimney.
To be fair, I was already struggling. Jeremiah got married back in November and we were adjusting to the knowledge that we would not be spending Christmas day with him and his wife. My heart was already sad by how life is changing. I mean you are talking (or reading from) the girl who cries after all the presents are opened every year because it marks a change. This is the last year we will give a baby doll as a gift....this is the last year anyone will willing put on the feety pajamas...this is the last year before so and so goes off to college.... Remember, I love the traditions of Christmas.
So the news that Christmas morning will not be what we had planned is more than heart breaking. I am devastated. I want to do nothing more than lie in my bed and sob...which for the record I have done. I want to scream at God and question whether or not He is paying attention to what is happening down here on Railroad Street...which for the record I have done. I want to complain to anyone who will listen about how our Christmas is ruined...which for the record I AM doing right now.
But what is truth? Is my current, "I hate Christmas" attitude okay because the circumstances surrounding me are pretty awful? Or are the words I intended to share with my daughter true?
"Christmas is all about HOPE, and Jesus coming down to earth as a baby, vulnerable and innocent, because of His love for mankind... we cannot allow the circumstances around us to rob us of the joy of this season."
The truth is even back in the day...actually THE DAY, on the day that God became flesh, it was not what everyone had expected. In fact the world had No room for Him. When He was ready to enter this cold, sin-filled earth, there was no place for him.
I bet Mary's "Christmas" was ruined when she found out that she was going to have to travel to Bethlehem while being 9 months pregnant.
Or what about Joseph? Do you suppose his day was ruined when he found out the woman he was engaged to was pregnant?
This is not what either of them expected!
Then they arrive in Bethlehem just as the labor pains begin. Do you think Joseph stomped the ground and yelled, "Just our luck!" when he found out there was no place but a dirty stable for his wife to give birth in.
Maybe he yelled at God, "Is this what you want for YOUR son?" "Are you paying attention to what is happening down here in Bethlehem?"
Or how about Jesus himself? What a rude awakening to go from Heaven's glory to the filthy, smelly stable. Do you suppose somewhere in His infant mind he thought, "I hate Christmas."??
I guess what I am trying to say, from my very broken heart, is that Christmas is not....cannot be, about out expectations. Christmas is about a Holy God having a plan that is bigger than any of us can see in this moment.
Truth is, Christmas is going to be hard this year. We are going to have to adjust our expectations but I always come back to this
1- God is still God and 2- He is still on the throne.
I am sure we are not the only family who feel like the Grinch has stole our holiday. Many people have lost loved ones this past year, or even as recently as this past month. Others will spend the holiday season overseas serving our country, or here missing their loved ones who are serving out country. Still others will pace the floors of a hospital waiting room on Christmas day. Someone somewhere will sit in an empty nursery brokenhearted over another Christmas with empty arms.... Truly the list goes on and on. So what I want to remind each of you, each of us, is that this season really is a season of HOPE.
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
A God who loves me enough to send His son, knowing the cruelties He would face, surely knows what is happening down here on Railroad Street.
Reminds me of the song, "A Strange Way to Save the World."
"All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
(Even when it doesn't feel like it!)