Monday, December 9, 2013

This Christmas

I don’t like what God is doing in my heart this Christmas. I have never really liked Christmas. I like to keep it at a distance. Easter, I get. But Christmas seems all babyish with the manger and shepherds and angels. And overdone. How many times do we have to sing and hear those same old songs? Over and over again.

But this December is wrecking me. I’ve sat with the suffering. I’ve listened to friends in pain because of life’s sorrows and disappointments. I’ve been told off for helping. I’ve watched people head off to hospital yet again for things they don’t want to do. I’ve cried as someone else’s child faces a life of treatments and therapies.

And the fact that this world is not right – not right at all – has slapped me in the face. And I’m part of it. I’m part of the sin and the selfishness and the muck of it all. I can’t point the finger at the rape and the greed and the destruction and then hide in my corner taking my little fix of selfishness and pretending that I’m not an addict as well.

I feel like I’m hearing each Christmas carol for the first time. The mess of the stable. The scent of scandal as a teenage girl gives birth beside a man who is not the child’s father. The danger of the night and the soldiers’ swords that would soon come for this little helpless king who must rush across the border into Egypt or be slain. Born into this wreck of a world to save the world.

As I’ve cried with nearly every carol I’ve heard this in the past week, I’ve thought of this king who did not send help to our world. Instead, he came. He came himself. To see more of the wonder of that, I’ve had to see more of the mess. And now every carol seems to be shouting - no, singing - that fact out for joy, pure joy, in my head.

I don’t like what God’s doing in my heart this Christmas. But it’s good.


Gary Ware said...

If you have to commemorate Christmas I'm growing more and more to believe you have to observe Advent in some fashion or another.

Deb said...

@ Gary: so what do you mean when you say, "observe Advent"?

Meredith said...

This is going to be the best post this Christmas. Thank you for giving words to the nausea I feel when I go Christmas shopping (and we don't do a whole lot of Christmas shopping around here). Thank you for giving words to these truths.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King.

Jessica said...

Thanks for this post.

Karen said...

Awesome post, Deb :) I needed to hear this today. Life is a bit of a mess here too at the moment and your words were just right. Thanks :)

Alistair Bain said...

Thanks Deb

Really great stuff.

Gary Ware said...

Advent, as I'm coming to understand it focuses on the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as essential preparation for celebrating His first coming.
Look at the Lectionary readings for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. They're about the second coming.
Look up Advent hymns, which pick up the theme or express longing for the coming of God's salvation deliverance.
Apparently carols are sung on or after Christmas and Advent themed songs before.
I'm appreciating the developed sense of longing for the final return of Jesus contrasts any tendency toward sentimentality which may emerge from nativity celebrations.

Deb said...

@ Gary - yes, I agree. A long for the final chapter is an antidote to the sentimentality. Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Sarah said...

Thanks Deb!