This Christmas 2016, we want you to know…

Ah, Christmas! Decorated trees, shining stars, cookies and sweets and jolly old Santa Claus. It’s the time of the year we’re all happy and grateful for.

Ah, Christmas! Decorated trees, shining stars, cookies and sweets and jolly old Santa Claus. It’s the time of the year we’re all happy and grateful for what the year has been. I mean, come on, it’s Christmas – it just makes us happy. We love receiving the presents and having a ball.

But take a step back and you’ll know this isn’t always true. Some of you out there have had a rough year – a loss in the family, financial struggles, a broken heart or a deep personal loss.  You’re wondering how you’re even going to make it through the week. You know life is harder than you anticipated & unpredictable & not tidy & it does not tie easily into bows.

Unfortunately, of all the things they can sell in stores to supposedly make our Christmas season a better one- the brightest lights for the tree, the hottest toys under the tree, the most delectable desserts for the party– the stores can do nothing to aid the gaping hole of loss, grief, of feeling alone and deserted.

So we must…even in our brokenness, especially in our brokenness, we must.

Though the year has been challenging, it can also show us that Christmas is not about the bows or the gifts we give. You have heard it over a thousand times, but hear it from me too. Let’s not focus in on the presents but rather on His Presence this Christmas. Let’s gather the memories, moments & peace into our arms like the world’s most skilled holiday shoppers. This is the great stuff.

I think the most magical Christmas we can have is one where we open our hearts, even to strangers and let the joy we feel overflow into each other’s cups. It is through outpouring and giving that we make this season really matter.

We must make the choice to make those who are missing the joy of Christmas this year reappear and be more real than ever. Love is a gift; and also a give.

So I pray you find love and give love this Christmas holiday.

 That’s all God is asking of us at this moment: To suck in what is what right before us, what He has placed there so intentionally, and then say thank you. Because it’s simple; and it’s true. It’s a gift we forget to find the gratitude for. It fills us so much more mightily than the fears and worries we stack inside ourselves when we think this day-to-day is about getting stuff done.

While 2016 was a hard year packed with smack downs that knocked the wind out of some of us, we end it all with a season purposed for remembrance, thankfulness and celebration. Look at all the layers of grace that make up Christmas, maybe one of the sweetest being that  Jesus presents himself in this hard battle. He did then just as He does in every breathless cycle – just as He does this Christmas time.

The war doesn’t end with Christmas. But it does end with Christ. He is the battle cry of every victory march at the end of battle. He is the peace when it’s easier to quit stretching our necks to hold out for hope. He is every “Me too” and He satisfies every thirst we keep going back to the well to try and quench. He is our gift and help from heaven.

And in all that you do this Christmas, I pray you remember this –  you are not alone.

Merry Christmas and lots of love to you.


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