Advent. Anticipation. Christmas Eve. Nothing’s normal. Traditions are breaking in the harsh winds of 2020.
It’s a challenge to remember joy this year in the disappointment. To remember peace in all the confrontations. To remember hope in all the broken traditions. To remember love when so many voices are spewing something other.
It’s a challenge. I am – moment by moment – challenged to remember Christ in me the hope of glory. Every little stop – even Starbucks for a Christmas warm red cup treat – is ruined by a chastisement followed by “We’re out of peppermint”.
My feelings are hurt by all the confrontations, cancellations and general lack of kindness. I want to cry because I’m so sad, but my defense mechanism kicks in and I respond with anger instead. By the time I arrive home, remove the mask, and finish berating myself for responding immaturely, I’m exhausted and don’t want to see another human for a significant amount of time.
The general bad mood of the world we’re living in at the present has a couple of positives though.
1. It’s causing me to recognize my own weaknesses. I am today able to recognize my desire for tears rather than angry responses. I hold out my imperfections to Jesus and ask Him to help me.
Somewhere along the path of life I allowed my tear reservoir to dry up. One too many times in my young life I was told that my tears were an unwelcome nuisance – a bother and inappropriate for an adult.
I can’t imagine now as a mature woman how I ever agreed that an angry response is more appropriate than tears. Anger is certainly a nuisance and unattractive, but righteous anger is far more acceptable in our world than honest, raw tears.
Honestly, this trade has to be in the top 5 worst agreements I’ve made throughout my nearly 6 decades of living on planet Earth. Tears are better.
Could I have tears for Christmas?
2. I am better able to reflect on the atmosphere of the culture into which our Savior was born. It is much easier today to feel the raw emotional state of a young woman possibly experiencing contractions while riding on a donkey and continually turned away from shelter. She just wanted to obey God and fulfill her part of His plan.
I feel a connection with Mary today that I have never felt before. Maybe it was difficult for her too to remember that Jesus, her Savior, was filled up in her. Maybe it was hard for her to remember the correct Godly response in the face of her own disappointment, despair, and hurt feelings.
Maybe – though Christ filled her tangibly with His presence – she still struggled with raw emotional & appropriate responses. Perhaps there’s more to learn in 2020.
Jesus, help me! You fill me in much the same way You filled Mary. My true heart’s desire is to carry You well in a broken, sharp and cutting world. Help me to receive Your tears. Help me to weep over all that causes You to weep. Come forth in me and make Your presence known.
This is the gift I long for this Christmas. Please restore the reservoir of honest tears – the flow of Your living water in me and through me.
Merry Christmas, Jesus. Happy birthday. And merry (2020 style) Christmas to you readers. May you be filled with the tangible presence of Jesus and tears of abundant joy in the broken.