Over the past couple of days, I have been reflecting on this season that is Christmas. For my entire life, I have been one of those people that gets oh so excited about the month of December and all that comes with it. I am blessed to have an incredible family that makes the most of time together and celebration of love and life. This season has always been filled with beauty, whimsy, and joy.
However this year, if I’m being absolutely honest, I have not been looking forward to Christmas. For the past couple of months, I have honestly felt stuck. Stuck in a season of confusion with what I am doing, why I am doing it, and who I am spending my time with and my efforts on. I was not looking forward to Christmas because it meant having shallow conversations with people at holiday parties that I did not want to have, answering the question “so what are you doing next?” with an ” I HAVE NO IDEA”, and going home to spend time in the house that I struggled in for years while walking through many dark seasons. Sounds like a tangled mess, huh? Sounds real cute and pretty and perfect, right? Sure I have a great job, wonderful friends, a loving family, and the ability to share my love of cooking and creativity on my blog every week… but still I have felt lost and alone and tired. So so tired.
Up until last week this feeling of utter confusion and hopelessness was what resonated in my conversations, in my prayers, and in my attitude as I approached each day, forcing myself to smile and keep going. I thought that because my life looked like it should be “together,” and from a wordly perspective (and the perspective of the people around me), I lacked nothing.
However, over the past week, the Lord has spoken to me clearly through His word, my community, and this season of Christmas that there is HOPE, PEACE and JOY. These words seem to be overused during this season and can seem cliche if we fail to think about the true meaning, depth, and overwhelmingly good news behind them. Hope, peace, and joy are real and alive!
When we set our eyes on Jesus:
We have HOPE of the good news of the Gospel. HOPE that Jesus has come to “bind up the brokenhearted” and “proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1). He has healed all of our wounds from the past and speaks freedom over the areas of bondage in our lives!
He brings us PEACE when the world around us is anything but peaceful. “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14). Whether you need peace in your thoughts, your relationships, or your circumstances, we don’t have to look any further than the truth found in Jesus. We can rest in perfect love that will never ever leave us, forsake us, or fade away.
And finally, we have inexpressible, never ending JOY in this season as we celebrate and “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). We have joy in knowing that Jesus came to Earth to set us free and redeem us and He is coming back! This joy is eternal and not affected by our circumstances and should be the mark of our faith. It should spread in our lives like wildfire and cause people around us to question where this joy is coming from!!
So no matter how much of a mess I am, I am being made whole because of the grace upon grace given to me. This Christmas, I will celebrate Jesus. The Jesus who brought me from death to life, enslaved to free. The Jesus who has given me a boldness, strength, and zest for life that will not go away even in the most dire of days.