Monday, December 1, 2014

I Haven't Always Liked Christmas...

It's true. Christmas, for a long time, has been one of my most dreaded holidays. I never really cared for it, I celebrated for the free gifts, the traveling... but if I had a choice I would have avoided it, all together.

Christmas reminded me that my life was not perfect. That my family was broken. That my life was shattered. It reminded me that I held a lot of grudges, hid a lot of pain, and mastered the facade of happiness.

That pain was too much to bear. To cope I would laugh and mock those who were so intoxicated with Christmas spirit that they trimmed the trees with ornaments and bows... in November! "Please," my heart would scream, "Just wait, and let Thanksgiving have its time."

Yet, this past year (I know I talk about it a lot) God changed me. He wrecked me, broke me, dipped me in water and wrung me until everything I was hiding basked out in the open. All the pain and lies that tormented my weary soul were sitting there, revealed. He gently sifted it out, masterfully leaving only the gold... the truth.

God took the gold pieces and gently put me back together again. Shiny and new. Alive. Full of love. Glowing with a radiant light.

Then Romania happened, a mission trip that was just another step in my healing process. While at a camp with some of the most beautiful souls we call orphans, I bravely told my testimony.  Soon after I was pulled into a room by a friend, a sweet Romanian, who wanted to pray for me. She wanted to pray that once again in my life, Christmas would be important, would be amazing, would be fulfilling. Well here I am my sweet friend, and your prayers are going far beyond the walls of that tiny hotel room. Your prayers have been pasted on my heart and my God has heard them, truly heard them. Here I am like an eager little child on Christmas morning, anticipating the celebration this year. Fully committed to focus whole-heartedly on the birth of Jesus because he has redeemed me.

Now, today... on Day 1, I sit here prepared for December 25th. The day Jesus was born. I want it all to be about him, I want to be overwhelmed with celebrating his quiet and humble birth. I want to experience all of it, to be filled with abounding joy and a light heart.

Although I am not a new christian, I am new to this idea of full freedom. Therefore, to me this Christmas is about remembering him walking humbly into my heart while celebrating his manger scene, hay filled, animals and shepherd rejoicing birth.

Much love,
Jesse Tree Advent Calendar

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