Merry Christmas! I sometimes feel this is a phrase we say as a marker to the season, when sometimes in our hearts, merry and cheery are not actually how we feel at this season. Sure there is beautiful snow, but unlike when I was a child and loved the snow, making snowmen, or sledding, this year as an adult who drives a lot for work I see ice and hard driving conditions. I see cold. Instead of delighting in the making of cookies, I see calories and all of them adding to my waist that I already feel is expanding. Instead of a cozy fireplace and stockings hung with care, I see lack in what I have versus what I think I want. I miss the carefree days of childhood, when Christmas lists, cookie making, shopping, wrapped presents under the tree and snow days called me with wonder. As an adult I find myself more cynical, more hardened to the joys of the season. In fact the other month I told my sister that I sometimes feel like a child playing an adult. Really, I feel like I haven’t truly grown up yet. And I’m not talking maturity or aging, I’m talking the feeling of not having arrived yet. It’s the feeling of “who am I?”
This adult longs for the delight and simplicity of childhood. I want the innocence of not understanding the cares of life, of worries over jobs, or of not having what we thought we would by now. I want the above picture when my life actually feels like the bottom picture. You know what I’m getting at? So is it a Merry Christmas? Even this blog hasn’t been touched much in the last year. Has God not been talking to me this year? Well, not exactly. I just think He’s doing a lot of inner work inside of me. Hidden work, known to Him but to me it feels like a long and weary season of “not yet.”
In fact, today, Christmas Day 2018, I am at home, quieted by the flu that arrived suddenly the night before Christmas Eve day. Our plans disrupted, my husband eating tv dinners while I huddle in bed, sleeping or hoping to sleep. Today I’m better, but our plans are still down to none. The little gifts we have for each other still sit under the tree, there is not a spread of delicious food, there is not family or friends, we didn’t go to church, and Christmas cookies lie unopened on the counter their allure all but gone.
Today I read again the Christmas story as told in Luke. Familiar words, yet new today, another birthday of Christ to remember. Just like our birthdays, every year a chance to remember. I’ve had the phrase in my head: The Jesus whose birth we celebrate this season is the same Jesus who died on a cross to save us from all sins. Yet in the first few stories of his life as told in Luke, we see him a baby born, and then a preteen who gets lost from his family. He stays behind in the temple and his family looses him. He responds he had to be “in my Father’s house,” which his parents didn’t understand. But then he returns home and submits to them, and grows in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God. And all of this Mary, his mother, ponders in her heart.
Hmm. In Luke 2, Jesus story is all about growing up, and we hear very little of all of it. There is much that is untold, much that is silent. Chapter 3 has Jesus baptized and beginning ministry. Matthew starts much the same, the first chapter is the geneology of Jesus, the 2nd his birth, and the third chapter his baptism and start of ministry. Mark and John skip telling anything of the birth of Jesus.
So here I am on Christmas, lounging at home, eating soda crackers, drinking 7-Up and feeling the mundaneness of a typically exciting holiday. I guess it just goes to show that the people and traditions make the day, not the day itself! But as I think over this past year, and the season of long waiting, and as I reread Jesus’s story, I’m beginning to wonder. We are told little in the Bible of Jesus’s growing, life, or years before His ministry. And much is left out from what we are told, as John notes, “There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”
Am I in a season of silence? Yes. Do I feel weary in waiting? Yes. What is it I’m waiting for? I’m not sure exactly. Who am I and what am I to do? God knows, even if it feels I do not. But this I know for sure, I am a child of God. I am loved by Him. He is at work in my life. Perhaps this is just a season of learning to give up control, of learning to wait, and of learning more of God’s love despite this. Jesus grew in stature and wisdom and in favor with God and man. That’s all we know. Perhaps that is my season as well: a time of learning, growing, and becoming.
Precious sisters, are you where I am too? Are you wondering what God might be doing in you or through you? May you find encouragement in the wait. May you and I together press on in the mundane, silent, and uncertain seasons of life. May we know God’s love, and His promises. May we, like children, do our growing with unknown and uncaring attitudes! As children we wanted baby teeth to fall out, drivers licenses, and priveleges that came with growing up. But did we ever ponder how we’d grow. No! We just lived life each day, and looked in the mirror sometimes and saw new changes! May we be that way as we go through a season of waiting, weariness, and feelings of “not yet.” One day, we will be where God wants us to be, if for now we just focus on living one day at a time for Him and His glory! Press on dear sisters!! For it really is a Merry Christmas, as Christ our Savior was born, and lives again, to one day return, and free us all from the weariness of life on earth!