Joy, Peace and Hope in Christmas After Loss: Advent

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I remember when I was in Jr. High, I was sitting on the couch at my parents, with my other siblings all around, a living room FILLED with gifts and my stomach was full of butterflies and excitement to see what I would get.

Tied so closely to that excitement was a guilt. We had prayed together and thanked God for the gift of Jesus but I found that although I knew what we really celebrated and I truly LOVED Jesus, my excitement was more for the gifts and I hated that.

You may say, “Oh, you were still so young, of course that was where you excitement was! Don’t be hard on yourself, there is grace.” And that’s all very true. I do not disregard all of that.

But before we opened the gifts, I still remember saying a little praying, “God, please help me to be more excited about your gift in Jesus, than these gifts here.”

And for a moment, I was. I truly was thankful for Jesus over the smell of the presents (am I the only one that thinks Christmas paper smells AMAZING!) and the excitement of being in one room with my family, breakfast warm and waiting for us, being filled with great joy.

Here I am, many years later and I find myself ONLY finding JOY in Him. The Christmas season is now being celebrated in my heart because of what it really is meant to be about- Jesus!

Now, I am motivated to put lights on the house, not to make my house pretty, but to show our everything is rejoicing for the gift of the King of Kings in Jesus! We live out a Hope, even in our heartache because of this most perfect gift!

Our Christmas tree is finally up and in years past, if we were so late in getting a tree up, I would have allowed it to crush me and felt somber and gloomy. Not.Kidding, you guys. But this year, our family was SO sick and then, after 4 yes FOUR tries in getting a Christmas tree, we finally found one (we didn’t feel the need to pay $80 for a tree or they had sold out).

I haven’t been motivated this year, to get up Christmas decorations because we have an ache that is strong. But when I forget that Christmas isn’t about having a sweetly decorated house for the holidays but is about creating a home that reminds me and my kids and all who enter about the precious gift of JESUS, all of a sudden, I am motivated!

No one signs up for tragedy or suffering, but for those in Christ, we are promised trials. And the truth is, they change us, it’s nothing we have done ourselves. Becoming more like Jesus is messy but in it, we find so much of the eternal gifts of Jesus. Joy, Peace, Hope and we are not alone- there is a vast Body of believers doing this with us and when we stand together, supporting each other, praying for one another, we find the eternal gifts are so much grander than the gifts of this world that fade away.

We don’t worship a baby anymore, but a risen man, the Son of God, Jesus. But in this season, I so often put myself next to His manger, with my face to the ground worshipping for the Hope he has given me and for all He has saved me from.

Merry Christmas.

 

2 Comments

  • Reply December 15, 2014

    momma b

    King of kings! I am! Emmanuel! Mighty Counselor! Prince of peace! Our Savior!

  • Reply December 16, 2014

    Anita

    Thank you, Bree, for sharing your heart, your journey, your sorrow, and your joy all so beautifully with us. I have passed along many of your posts to some others who have had significant loss this year. Your words are balm to other aching hearts. May you and your precious family be met each day newly by the amazing power of the Risen Christ who lives and reigns. Emmanuel is truly with us.

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