SixEight Life

justice.mercy.journey

Advent and Emotions

It’s Christmas Eve 2012. It’s the last day of the Advent season, as we wait for the coming of our Lord. It’s a season filled with many emotions, often times emotions on both extremes of the spectrum. Some feel overwhelming joy, while others experience pain as loss is so fresh this time of year. 154320_stock-photo-vigin-mary-with-baby-jesus

This year, my family is celebrating beautiful things. My grandmother is healing from major surgery, and I feel so thankful that she’s with us to celebrate. But members of my husband’s side of the family are experiencing loss this year, as his Uncle passed away a few weeks ago. While many of us are thrilled to be celebrating this joyous holiday with family, others are only able to relive memories.

My husband and I are so very thankful this year that we are able to purchase some small gifts for loved ones. The first part of this year was difficult for us financially, with job loss and pay cuts leaving us wondering how we would make ends meet. But God provided in amazing ways, and we are so thankful. We chose to make Christmas a bit simpler this year, and tried to focus on giving more than receiving. I’m thankful for that choice, as so many people have no choice on the simplicity of their Christmas.

I love receiving Christmas cards each year with photographs of growing families. Many of our friends are having children and expanding their families. Children bring such joy to the holiday season. But my heart is still heavy for the families in Newtown, CT, as these families are experiencing intense grief that many of us cannot even fathom right now. Other families are experiencing loss this season, as they face their first Christmas without loved ones.

Christmas is a time of joy, as we celebrate the coming of that sweet baby in a manger, two thousand years ago. Jesus came to to heal the wounds of many, but he was also a prophesied as a man of sorrow. He brought joy and life, but he is also close to those who are suffering. My prayer for my family is that we are sensitive to the emotions of Christmas, and that we wrap our arms around those who are hurting. We have so much to be thankful for, while others are experiencing pain. I pray that I can embrace the joy and blessings God has giving me, while still remembering to pray for others and to give generously.

God sent his son to the Earth to walk alongside us. He felt pain, loss, grief, and rejection. God became man so he could live life, so he could feel human joy and human pain. He came as a tiny baby, lying in a dirty manger. The fanfare of his coming was announced to a group of religious outcasts, caring for sheep in a pasture. If you reflect on that event, it’s so relatable. I know I feel like an outcast sometimes, so it’s quite beautiful to think about how my savior came here. He came humbly, and was a refugee during the first few years of His live. He came to save us, but made Himself a servant. The Christmas season is symbolic of the beginning of that journey, where God redeemed His people.

If this season is a time of joy for you, I’m celebrating with you. We have so many things to be thankful for, don’t we? If you are experiencing loss or pain this Christmas, my prayers are with you, and my heart breaks with yours. Please don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out to those around you, and to God. He is near to the brokenhearted and deeply cares for you. In the midst of this season of joy, grace, happiness, pain, and grief,  I pray we don’t forget the baby lying in the manger, the King of Kings, who came here to change the world.

 

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