I was knee deep and I mean literally knee deep in Christmas cheer surrounded by boxes of Christmas decor and carols playing in the back ground, when I received a call from my husband. From the sound of his voice I knew it wasn’t going to be good news. All I remember was being overcome by this cloud of grief and the Christmas carol that played was Emmanuel, God with us.
I tried to continue my day.
To continue with my Christmas tree decorating. I tried hanging the greens over our balcony. I tried singing along with the Christmas carols. But the cloud of tragedy hung over us. I even tried to play our Christmas music louder but it didn’t work. Deep within me was the grief of a mother hurting for another mother who just lost her child, for a family who just lost their precious son.
I continued decorating for the sake of our children who had been begging me all Thanksgiving week and weekend to decorate our house. But all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and hold my boys tight which I did later when we read our advent story.
The whole day I tried to pray for this precious hurting family, but I didn’t know how. Everything I prayed just didn’t sound right or seem right. I prayed for peace but how does one have peace when your child takes their own life. The only words I could utter that made sense were–hold them close.
Hold them close Jesus.
I awoke at 3 in the morning that night it’s all I could pray for this family–over and over again. The words from the song Emmanuel were playing in my head–God with us. Yes, God is with us in the midst of this tragedy. God is with them, holding them close in the midst of this tragedy. I held on to His truth, like my life depended on it–God is with us.
I awoke, well not really, I never went back to sleep, to this message in my inbox from Faith Gateway reminding me that He came to be the light in our darkness–this darkness.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows — light! sunbursts of light! — Isaiah 9:2 MSG Most Christmas carols do not talk about daunting shadows or dreary days. They talk sparkle and shimmer. They talk ho-ho-hoing and mistletoeing, and all of that is fine and fun if you’re having a great year. But let’s be honest about the fact that this relentless commercialized happiness is not really what lives at the heart of Christmas.
Christmas is deeper than that. It reaches into darker places.Jesus didn’t come to cheer us up; He came into the shadowlands we call home to set us free.
He came to untangle us from the despair that wraps itself around our joy and peace and purpose. It seems, then, that hopelessness is the very first qualification for receiving the bright hope of Christmas. Perhaps you are exactly where you need to be to experience the miracle of Advent after all.
What a reminder to me that Christmas is deeper than the relentless commercialize Christmas cheer messages that we are bombarded with all month long. He came to untangle us from the despair that wraps itself around us. He didn’t come to people who had it together but to a people buried in darkness, desperate for help and longing for hope.
I needed to read this, because we are sucked into believing that our Christmas is ruined when the car breaks down, the Christmas lights don’t work, when we are feeling hopeless, the kids are sick, or as simple as we didn’t find the toy your child has been wanting all year. It’s a message I need to pass on to my children. Problems don’t stop, people are still laid off, people are hurting. So my hope this holiday season is to help our children see that Christmas is more than the image that’s sold to us in stores. I share more here on this.
Oh, Christmas is so much deeper than that.
When We Lost Our Christmas Cheer earlier this week, He came down to remind us that we don’t have to be filled with the Christmas spirit to enjoy Christmas because He came down as a baby to fill us with His hope, His light and give us the real Christmas spirit our soul has been longing for. So, we continue fighting against the darkness and fighting for life by celebrating the Life, enjoying our advent, baking cookies to give away and living life.
So as Sarah Thebarge so beautifully put it, go and crawl into the manger…
Lay on your back with the shepherds and wish on shooting stars…
Let the wisemen’s myrrh soothe the pain you’ve been carrying for so long.
Find comfort in knowing that you don’t have to build a ladder or a tower to try to reach Emmanuel.
Emmanuel is coming down to you.
Today, for those of you who hurt too hard to hope, there is good news.
Advent has arrived.
Let your face relax into a smile, let your tense arms fall free, let your burden roll away.
Because you don’t have to fight your way to Hope…
Hope is here!