This year has been an interesting one. Many changes, experiences, and circumstances have occurred. And each one has ranged greatly on the emotional scale. Thankfully through it all, we choose to trust that Christ has walked (and sometimes carried) with us through it all.
Some of these experiences have played a large role in my perspective of Christmas. In general I've always enjoyed Christmas. Growing up, I remember a section of my life in which we were spoiled at Christmas time. It truly was excessive. But I loved it anyway...well, mostly the stockings. They were my favourite; a stocking full of treasures to go through. As I began to grow and life began to change, so did my view and perspective of Christmas. There were times when I didn't enjoy it all and wished it would just pass like any other day. And then I went through a lovely season in which I began to get back to the heart of Christmas, and thoroughly enjoyed the season of Advent.
This year I had wanted to "get my act together" and have something prepared for each Advent week, but alas, it did not happen...we even missed the first two weeks of Advent at church. Regardless, changes were being made in my heart, and circumstances and happenings seemed to be aligning; pieces of my puzzle were being put into place.
It's hard to describe in writing how everything seemed to fit into place, mostly because everything is so all-over the place! But I'll do my best. I guess, in a nutshell, the pieces of my puzzle came together to reshape my thoughts of Christ and Christmas.
I completed a Beth Moore study on the book of James; my family has gone through some very dark and life altering times; I've had encounters with people that just seemed to leave me questioning humanity; I've read books; I've watched movies; I've heard some tragic news; I watched powerful thought-provoking messages; I've read perspective changing prayers. And all of it, played out at different times and in different ways has reshaped the way I view, not only Christmas and Christ, but life, heart, humanity, and purpose.
It became apparent to me that we truly are living in a war. We were born into a war. And we have the choice to decide if we want to acknowledge that or not. It became apparent to me that we have to choose to fight for our lives, and the lives of those around us.
So many people question God and His goodness because of the happenings of this world. I've done it, and I'd risk saying so have you. And well, I suppose it's a valid question, IF you have no idea who God the Father is and who His Son Jesus Christ is. But if you do know them, then I think it is not only unfair, but ignorant. I've questioned God numerous times about the lack of justice happening in the world, and even more recently how this or that could happen to me/my family. Looking back though, when I truly think about it, I begin to question myself and my ignorance on the matter. Who am I to question the I Am?
Enter in some life changing news: the Father & His Son weep when tragedy strikes. He doesn't just sit back and watch, thinking well, they chose this life. Nope, not even close. He weeps; His heart breaks. And its what makes the true Christmas story that much more amazing. God the Father sent His Son, so that I may have life and live that life to the fullest. And, HOW the Father chose to bring His Son into the world is just as incredible: as a baby, on the run, wrapped in swaddling cloth. He was born into a mess. He was being hunted the moment He physically arrived. And then, His entire life was messy; full of anguish, and turmoil, and deceit. And yet, it was beautifully orchestrated; full of mercy and grace and heart, and a love purer than any other.
So, I've come to a new perspective: if my Saviour was born into a mess, and lived a messy life, what makes me think that I'm going to get away with living a mess-free, pain-free life? Thinking about it logically doesn't make much sense for me. If Christ fought the Enemy from birth and was engaged in a battle long before He even came to earth, and I am called to live a life worthy of Christ, then why would I not also be engaged in this battle? Why would I be exempt?
It makes life that much more understandable once this is realized. And I mean truly realized. And it sheds light on the entire "Christmas Story". A babe, born at night, in a stable with dirty smelly animals, wrapped in cloths meant for the dead, and then soon after being hunted. My Lord and Saviour chose to come anyway. He chose to be born for me, so that even though "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy," I "may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10)
I hope this Christmas was a joy & blessing for you all. I pray that you were able to have a few moments where you were just in awe of the beauty of the real Christmas story, for there is nothing greater than the glorious story of our Saviour.
Merry Christmas to you
**An inspiring prayer can be found here
**A thought-provoking video here
**An intense, thought-provoking book review (book)
**A powerful study here
**A new perspective on prayer here