People walk into the holiday season holding the heaviness of a year. Grief and joy collide. They enter in feeling certain they may be swallowed whole. The days string long and tiresome. The burdens are heavy, cumbersome. They walk in the “out -of-place” world of singleness, marriage, divorce, infertility, unplanned pregnancy, motherhood. Each one brings its own set of loneliness. Each one is its own wilderness-way. And these out-of-place worlds feel sharp and jagged at Christmastime.
But then we remember God.
We realize that while this season may punctuate our pain and grief, it is not about our pain and grief. We recall how God sent His Son to earth for us. We realize the only Reason we can find for celebration is the sole Cause for any and all celebration–Jesus, our Savior. We see the beginning of Hope and Joy and Peace. We ponder the work of God’s hands and we stretch out our hands to Him.
It is all we can do.
As we attempt to reconcile with with another year and bravely face the end of 365 days, God reminds us, “This is the beginning. I sent hope and joy and peace with the birth of my Son. And this carries into your life year after year….a beginning, a beginning, a beginning…just when you thought everything was ending.”
So we celebrate the birth of Jesus and not the birth of our hopes and dreams! We celebrate the beginning of full hope, great joy, and everlasting peace! And just when we try to stamp an ending on our year and in our hearts, we celebrate the Beginning of Hope. Just when the year is too heavy and too hard to bear, we celebrate the Beginning of great Joy.
December becomes a beautiful pause. A place for remembering. A place for rejoicing. A place for beginning all over again.
This is life with God.