December 26…the end or the beginning?



December 26. Many of us are taking a deep, relaxing breath because some of the craziness is over.
Four days ago, as I was bustling around attempting to cross items off my “must do” list, I heard a fellow shopping bustler say, “Well, in three days it will all be over!”
Over?
Her words made me scrunch my eyes and turn my head a bit in thought. You know what I mean.
Andy Williams has been telling us for weeks that this is the MOST wonderful time of the year. Kids jingle belling and everyone telling you “be of good cheer!” And yet the LIST often consumes us. Buy, wrap, bake, cook, clean…church stuff, family stuff…run run run.
Don’t misunderstand. I love Christmas. It is my favorite holiday. I love the decorations and songs and gatherings and presents.
More than all that, I love being reminded so often of the Savior’s birth.
I believe Christmas touches a tender place in each of us. Whether we have a relationship with Jesus or don’t much think about Him, whether we attend church weekly or only on Christmas Eve, Christmas reminds us of the JOY and HOPE of a baby’s birth. Even if we don’t acknowledge that, I believe it is pervasive and seeps into our hearts.
Have you also had a year when December was the most heart-breaking time of the year?
I have. More than once.
My head painted a picture of everyone else celebrating while I struggled and cried my way through the month.
The potential for joy is counterbalanced by the potential for sadness. Emotional physics, so to speak. There is no escaping it if you have reason for sorrow.
December 26. I woke up this morning with a Steven Curtis Chapman song in my head.
One of us is cryin’ as our hopes and dreams are led away in chains
And we’re left all alone
One of us is dyin’ as our love is slowly lowered in the grave
Oh and we’re left all alone
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpVxQGcDgng)
This song has encouraged cleansing tears and pulled me through some dark Decembers.
Consider these words:
But for all of us who journey through the dark abyss of loneliness
There comes a great announcement, WE ARE NEVER ALONE
For the maker of each heart that breaks, the giver of each breath we take
Has come to earth and given hope it’s birth
In the midst of overwhelming lists or overwhelming pain, there is the Baby.
The Baby who is the author of joy and the answer for grief.
The Baby who is the inspiration for decorated trees and parties and presents and the best seasonal music.
The Baby who has relief for your troubles, even if you don’t believe in Him.
And with love that conquers loneliness, hope that fills all emptiness
He came to earth to show our worth
December 26. The festivities aren’t over, but I will use some of this day’s hours for work. That is true for most of us. Today or tomorrow or Monday, work and life go back to what they were.
Some folks will have their decorations put away before I complete this blog.
Some have been shopping for bargains since before dawn.
None of that changes the essence of the Season.
It’s the Baby.
The Baby who rejoices with those who are celebrating and holds firmly, speaks softly to those who have hurting hearts.
The Baby who stands ready to help each of us become the person we were created to be.
The Baby who is ever-present, magnificently loving, inexplicably merciful, always extending grace and favor, whether we recognize of acknowledge it.
December 26. Many of us are thankful the rush is over, happy for a relaxing weekend.
Some of us, however, are taking a breath that says, “I made it through the day.”
But for all of us who celebrate Christmas – believer or doubter, rejoicing or grieving – the promise this Baby brings is the gift for the next 364 days.
Our God is with us, Emmanuel
He’s come to save us, Emmanuel and we will never face life alone
Now that God has made Himself known
As Father and Friend, with us through the end, Emmanuel…

December 26. A beginning, not an end.
So rejoice…REJOICE. Emmanuel has come.
Blessings to you.

BP

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