Christmas is not for those who already have joy, but for those who need it most.
In a world of appearance and perfectionism it's not shocking that we feel we have to show up smiling, joyful, put-together, and giving all the right gifts in order to qualify for feeling good about the Christmas season.
Which is such crap.
A dear friend of mine (you know who you are) has said good-bye to both parents and a grandparent in the past 18 months so you can imagine there's a little grief going into this season. She attended a Grief Share where she heard a teacher say, "Christmas is for those who are suffering." Because Jesus came to end ALL suffering.
You all may be up to speed on this concept, but I'm over here like, "WUT THIS IS EVERYTHING!" Like everything else in our faith walk we literally just have to SHOW UP to be blessed. We DO nothing other than choose to abide in him in order to be perfectly loved. (John 15, all about abiding in Jesus.)
Speaking of which...
I went through an amazing prayer study with the fierce women of the Word Warriors study at our church. It's a book by this guy named Larry Lea, and it's really good, but it's pretty much totally unrelatable to my demographic of friends. There are POWERFUL practices of prayer and worship that have changed my daily habit of faith, and I REEEAALLLYYY want to share it with everyone. So I made a cheat sheet.
I call it "Every Day Faith", and I have been working on it, in it, and with it for about 2 months. I've made it my personal challenge to stick with this habit. It's changed things. My spirit has grown and I have been able to choose worship even when I'm cracking.
Brandon and I are in a rough time. We are simply waiting for the things we've asked for to show up. The daily determination to hang on to believing that what we need is just around the corner is one of the greatest spirit challenges I have experiences so far in my life. Some days I feel strong and full of faith in things unseen, other days I'm over-come by fear and doubt and the tears won't stop.
There is temptation to give up, take my own self-made path to feel safe, and to stop turning to God because it's clearly not working. BUT I WILL NOT. The Every Day Faith Cheat Sheet I made has made the daily discipline of going to God so much easier. Because when my feelings are involved and I don't *feel* like it's working or worth it it's hard to know what to pray. By giving myself a pre-made, step-by-step to follow I don't sit blankly just hoping to feel inspired by the Spirit.
This is discipline. It's the same as ballet. No matter how I *feel* emotionally when I go to the barre my body reaps the same benefit of the daily practice as when I feel great. The same applies to my spirit.
Starting January 1st...
I'm going to share Every Day Faith! I hope you'll check it out; it's 10 days, 10 posts, 10 steps. It's a test run and you're all my test subjects! So, I'll see you January 1st for the first post!
(I am not a fan of New Year's Resolutions. This is not a New Year's Resolution. This is literally just the next first of the month that is coincidentally also the first of the new year. If you're a NYR person feel free to see it that way!)
In the meantime...
Remember that Christmas is for all of us who desperately need love, hope, and encouragement. Start each day with a gratitude practice, and enjoy the people you love. Life's stresses don't stop for the season, but being perfected in Christ's love ruins our feelings of hopelessness.
"And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them,
“Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men."
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains He shall break
For the slave is our brother
And in His Name
All oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy
In grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy Name
- O Holy Night
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