Friday, December 23, 2016

A Stripped Down Christmas

     I've been struggling this Christmas season. Fighting sadness and grief without necessarily understanding why. If I were to be honest with myself, I'm sure there's more than one reason. All of which, I'm sure, are rooted in the fact I haven't gotten my way because God's plan is different from mine.

I've had to ask myself some hard questions.

Who I am looking to to bring me joy?

Where I am looking for peace?

Where have I placed my hope?

If I stripped everything about Christmas down to the baby in the manger, would it still be Christmas to me?

     I wish I could say the answers are Jesus and yes. While pointing others to Him, I've struggled to keep my eyes focused on Him. I've battled the desire for pity parities rather than focusing on every blessing He's given.

     Last night as I laid in bed with tears trickling down my cheeks, this verse came to mind:

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see 
the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living."
 ~Psalm 27:13

     The baby in the manger means hope rather than despair, joy rather than sadness, peace rather than grief. Jesus is the goodness I experience right here and now. When everything around me feels meaningless and disappointing, Jesus brings meaning and satisfaction.

     Christmas IS the baby in the manger. Without Jesus, everything else is empty tradition.

     Maybe it's time for me to strip away my idea of Christmas and get back to just Jesus.