Christmas is right around the corner, and I have to say that I really do love this time of year. This morning I was sitting in our living room sipping my coffee and enjoying the way the lights of our Christmas Tree dance and reflect off the ceiling and the windows in the peaceful darkness of the early morning.
While all was calm and all was peaceful (at least for a few precious minutes until the littles woke up!) there was also a hint of sadness around the rough edges of my heart. The places that have been bruised and broken and battered with each passing year and as things in my life have not gone the way that I wanted, or planned, or expected. And Christmas isn’t quite as magical as it was when I was a child and so innocent of the pain and heartache that is a reality of life in this broken world.
What I am realizing in my grief since losing my dad is that joy and brokenness are so often two sides of the same coin. So many of us are hurting, for any one of many reasons — broken relationships, missing loved ones, financial struggles, marriage or family struggles — because we live in a broken world, everyone has something that has broken them, wounded them, something they are carrying with them through this Christmas season.
And yet, we smile and say “Merry Christmas” and we want to believe it, but maybe our Christmas really isn’t so merry this year. Maybe we just want to hide under a rock and come out when all the tinsel and lights are put away, and everyone is excited about the opportunities of a new year. New Year, New You! Because isn’t that just what you feel like you need? A renewal, to turn over a new leaf, another chance to shape some kind of new life out of the ashes?
I’ll be honest that I’ve been thinking and planning a lot for the new year, but not much for the Holiday that is right around the corner. My head is down, walking into the wind, trying not to pay much attention to the merriness and Christmas Spirit around me, hopeful that I can just come out on the other side, and somehow in the days between Christmas and New Years, I’ll find myself again.
And yet as I listen to melodies of Christmas carols, their words at once joyful and haunting, I know that there is something very important for me in this Season if I can just lift up my head, open my eyes, and accept this for what it is. A Season of Brokenness and Joy; a Season of Anticipation.
At times my heart feels like it could burst with the expectation. I understand the Advent season better now then I ever have before in my life. We aren’t just waiting for Jesus to come as a baby, now we are waiting and expecting Him to come again. To make all the things right that are so wrong in this world, and to wipe away all the tears that are shed in the depths our our souls and running down our faces when no one is watching.
There is joy in the anticipation that is only made stronger by the depth of the brokenness we experience. Instead of the expectation of a fresh start for the New Year which will fizzle and fade by about January 16th when we realize that we still live in this same broken world, we anticipate our new life in God’s Kingdom.
So may we say with expectation this Season, Come Lord Jesus.
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