Making it through Christmas....

There is conflict in my heart at this time of year. My children are excited and counting down the days until Christmas which is beautiful. The simplicity of their emotion is a joy to watch in the light of the complexity of my own sentiments. Their unhindered enthusiasm and anticipation inspires me out of my own apathy. There is value in choosing to make effort for others with all the seasonal preparations and, strangely, I find myself getting drawn into something of their joy as I focus on making it special for my family. Isn't it odd yet beautiful how that works? I am grateful that my own emotional state has capacity to change as I focus on something more real, more enduring, more precious.
I have never quite been in this place before, feeling the dread of something that should be glorious, feeling the longing for it to pass quickly so I can move on and get on with life again. I am afraid - afraid of the grief that might arise that I don't know how to push down, process or get past. I feel like the desperate woman looking for an existence that doesn't involve pain; trying to hide from life in the hopes that suffering won't find me. The problem is that I'm looking for entirely the wrong thing. There is no way to avoid the ache of a fallen world. The pollution enters our lungs with each breath. Cancer still afflicts people - people that I know, people that I prayed for healing for. Some were healed, some died, some still bravely undergoing painful treatment. Children lose their fathers through death or divorce, it's happened right in my family. The world is wounded, hurting. I cannot hide from it. Its sickness touches me all the time. Where do I go then to survive this broken existence? There is no place but there is a person. I need to cling to the Man who loves, despite it all. In His embrace is my peace, my hope, my place of refuge. He is the balm on my ravaged soul, He feels what I feel and weeps with me. There is no place, no other human that can offer the love that He gives. Only in Him can I walk through this sin-scarred world and find joy - joy even in the midst of pain, because His joy is eternal.

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