I know the feeling.
Christmas is one week away. There are lights and hot drinks and maybe even snow. You hear nostalgic music and watch the same movies you did every year as a kid. You’re supposed to feel happy. But instead, your heart is beginning to shred a little between choosing joy and being grounded in reality. The darkness you feel and the twinkly lights around you are trying to co exist, and their effort is creating an earthquake.
I know the feeling.
Right now one of my closest friends is grieving the loss of his grandmother. Right now a friend is praying for her nephew to recover from an overdose. Right now I am preparing to face my second Christmas without my dad and the first without my grandfather. And right now, there is a little girl named Olive on my Instagram. The doctors declared that her heart stopped beating, and there are thousands of people praying for her to be raised to life.
And Christmas is seven days away.
What are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to merge our reality with peace and joy?
We aren’t. Jesus is the one who does the reconciling. It cannot make sense to us. If you are grieving or praying for a miracle, can I gently speak truth to you that I wasn’t able to hear from God for several years?
It doesn’t sound very Christmasy. You won’t purchase a chalkboard sign with this stuff. But it’s the truth. It sounds good even though it’s in fact, really painful.
Death to us is not death to God. It actually leads to true, eternal life.
We want to see miracles. We want to see the dead raised to life. We want to see little three-year-old girls returned back to their parents so that the glory of God might be displayed. And there are time that this is God’s will. He wants us to believe in the impossible because He is absolutely capable of it. And yet, there are times that His miracle doesn’t line up with ours. There are times when the miracle is eternal. It feels almost insensitive to try to share with you right now, but it has to be the truth. If not, what do we actually believe in?
The true miracle is that the ones we hold most dear to us are now in the arms of the one who has reconciled them back to Himself. Their Father. Their Creator. The Truth is that although God experiences our pain, He’s reveling in the beginning of eternity with someone we love.
So if you feel like your heart is being pulled between the Christmas season and the loss or pain you’re facing; you’ve got to know that they are one and the same. Just because the world around us has convinced us that it is supposed to look happy and bright doesn’t mean it’s true.
The Truth is that we celebrate a baby being born with one purpose: to die in our place. So as one part of you fights to choose joy and the other part fights not to drown in your sorrow; God understands.
He has never asked you to put your reality aside to have joy or peace. And He never will. The Joy and the Peace of the world was sacrificed for you to experience an eternal miracle.
The pain, the light, the suffering and the beauty; it was meant to coexist. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
And when the darkness threatens to pull you under, remember; the Light has come. Not just to be born as a baby, but to suffer as a man. For you. So that you would be forever saved, and so that you would know that you don’t face anything alone.
The gifts of this season are joy and peace, yeah. But there’s more. The gift is just as much the nearness of God in the pain. The comfort in the midst of loss and confusion.
Wherever you find yourself, He has found you there, too.
“And this Living Expression is the Light that bursts through gloom –
the Light that darkness could not diminish!”