Holiday Joy and Sorrow

We traveled to far off lands (At least that’s what Jenna thinks these days. She’s become such a city girl.) and traipsed through the beautifully groomed Christmas tree farm to chop down our Christmas tree this weekend. We had such a great time enjoying the scenery on the drive, picking the perfect tree, and excitedly decorating once we got home. I would sit back and revel in my sweet girl decorating the tree (even when it wasn’t perfect) thinking about how I had to treasure these moments. Because as I watched her decorate, another family that I’ve prayed for over the past year is not decorating a tree but planning a memorial service. A woman I knew (who is my age) from my time at OSU died this past week of cancer, leaving behind her sweet family. Those precious kids won’t be decorating a tree with their mom again and my heart aches for them. I think of my other friend with cancer who is struggling and it makes me sad for her and her family. I picture my friend Erin and her two sweet kids having to go through another Christmas without the husband and dad that was there just two years ago, robbed also as a result of cancer. Even in my own family there is hard stuff happening that we have no control over and breaks my heart.

The Holidays (especially Christmas) bring out the best and the worst, the joy and the pain. They can be full of delight and also bring reminders of hopes or dreams not met in the past year revealing heartache in raw ways.

I don’t want to be a downer or only see the hard stuff because there are many joys in life and in this season. But, there is also great pain all around us because this world is a broken place.

Even in the midst of the constant heartache that surrounds, I just have to look to my tree and one of my favorite ornaments to remember that “Unto Us A Child is Born” and because of that, because of Jesus, there is hope. He is enough. On a dark night, a Savior was born to bring hope and light into all the dark places.

I’m praying that even in the dark places of this world, in your world, the heartache, the brokenness, even when I don’t feel joyful, or you don’t feel joyful we can remember together to celebrate the small mercies of each day, knowing that one day the world will again be made right thanks to that child that was born in a manger.

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