I don't even have to tell you about "the true meaning of Christmas" -- we all know what it is. Go to church and the scriptures tell it beautifully. Even the holiday movies sometimes get it right, with themes of 'joy' and 'celebration' and 'forgiveness' and 'family' and 'giving'.
So what happens? We do what we're taught: family traditions, endless parties, even church. We do all these joyful things because we truly want to be happy. We truly want to celebrate what and who we are meant to celebrate!
But the thing is, life is messy. And instead of feeling the immense freedom that Christmas brings, we wind up feeling suppressed. Suppressed because we have an idea of what Christmas is "supposed to be" that when things don't wind up how they should, we shove it away, bury it, and pretend to keep smiling. We are afraid that we are being 'selfish' if we allow ourselves to zone in on the restlessness nagging at our hearts. After all, Christmas isn't about us, right?
For the longest time I couldn't figure out why I couldn't escape the restlessness in my own heart; all I wanted was to focus on the One whom this day was truly for. My prayers would always be for peace, for the strength not to be selfish anymore. Yet I couldn't understand why despite all that, I had no peace. I was forced to turn inwards, to finally pay attention to the nagging inside me.
... And what I found surprised me like no other. What I found was not some perfect porcelain figure of the One lying in a manger of a nativity set. What I found was the One who existed when all else was smashed. What I found was not simply a picture of perfection; what I found was endless love that transcended everything else. What I found was the One who didn't want me to hide or pretend that things were perfect, but One who just wanted ME. Authentic. Real. The unedited version.
It was so freeing -- God wanted me to give voice to the yearnings in my heart, to the brokenness that existed ... because He was found there. He was waiting there, standing in the broken shards of disappointment. He was there in the unspoken places that we always tried to hush up or bury away. I was so angry at myself for having emotions that I thought were so 'selfish', distracting me from focusing on Jesus. What I didn't realize was that He wanted me to take a good look at them ... because He was found there.
He was actually never "there", but "here".
So please don't pretend anymore. Maybe you are truly feeling joyful and happy this Christmas. Maybe you are not. Regardless -- there is no shame today. Only honesty. Because the One with whom this season is for came for YOU. All of you. Total. Complete. Raw.
Perhaps if we take the time to be still with Him and completely honest, we will find true joy in our hearts ... a real joy that isn't faked by singing Christmas carols, but one that comes from knowing that He is who He says He is -- and always will be.
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20 WHERE 'YOU' COME IN ...
If you've got insights to add or experiences to share, PLEASE COMMENT BELOW (click on the 'comments' link)! This blog is a conversation, not a monologue. Let's start some #REALTALK