The holidays. Family time. A season of celebrating family and traditions. At least that's what it used to be.
The period from the end of October until January 1 makes me want to vomit and/or cry. Sometimes simultaniously.
I want to go back to the days just a few short years ago where we could decorate and celebrate with out the horrible memories of the past few years... it started three years ago when my grandpa was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer on Thanksgiving and suffered a stoke. He went on to live about a month and passed away on Christmas eve. Then Janet... our last good memory with her was a family trip we got to take to Colorado for Thanksgiving two years ago... and then she rapidly declined and passed away the day after Christmas... and then last year, my grandma suffered a stroke and passed away in early November. So much loss in the same time period-- the "happiest" time of the year. The time when you're supposed to be surrounded by family and friends, only to notice the huge holes and empty chairs.
And this year, we're waiting on answers for my Dad's thyroid cancer. I've been sick with little results up to this point... and it all just makes me want to go to sleep and wake up in January. None of the holidays are without the reminder of years past. The pain, the sickness, the heartache. My loved ones still living who deal with the horrible pain of losing parents/spouses. I hate seeing "my people" in so much pain.
My favorite season has turned into one that I wish would disappear... that I could push fast forward through... but as a mom of littles, that's not possible...
But I've been thinking... or maybe just the Lord has laid on my heart that I need to turn this season over to Him to let this be a season of redemption. Because that's what Christmas is all about, right? A baby who came to save the world-- to save us from sin and sadness and heartache. To give us a hope that we'd get to see our loved ones again one day. There is redemption in that perfect baby boy that came so very many years ago. THAT is what Christmas and this holiday season is about.
I want to take the fluff and glitter of the season away, and focus on the real reason we celebrate. As the "significant" dates pass this holiday season, I want to focus on the truth. God's truth. And besides that, I want to be God's truth to the community.
Bryan and I have taken a step to leave the church we have been at for 4 years and join a church plant with some great friends of ours. It is scary, terrifying and completely out of our comfort zones... but it's needed. We need it, our community needs it, and we are so excited to see where the Lord takes us on this journey. I can't help but think about the timing and how our journey with Narrative is starting in our hardest time of year-- but it's given us a glimpse of light and hope of what the Lord has in store for our family. I'll talk more about this in the future, but we covet your prayers as we take this step with our family.
So while I know we are sure to have sad days in the next two months, I'm going to try to focus on the redemption and hope that Jesus brought when he came as that tiny baby. The miracle that was His birth and the hope that he brought to the world. "Sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning."
Redemption. That's my song this season. Grace that I don't deserve, but am offered so freely by a God that loves me and in all of my crazy, and sinful, and dark places. But he pulls me up and offers me another shot. A do over. One I don't deserve.
If you don't know of this redemption, I'd love to share more about it with you.
Let's make this season about HIM, not about the fluff and glitter. Let's be a light into this dark dark world.
Let's turn this season of sadness into a season of redemption. It's not about the garland, the tree, the presents. It's about a baby boy who came to save the world.