Where do I even begin with this post??? Well first of all, thank you all for your sweet comments on my last post before Thanksgiving. I have to admit that it ended up being a pretty good Thanksgiving with my mom's side of the family. We were all a little worried about how it might be, but in the end, we were able to celebrate each other and our blessings. The only tears shed were during the prayer before we ate when we thanked God for sending us mom to have in the first place.
So now on to Christmas! I have realized something about myself this year... I am embarrassed to say it, but I am a Christmas pessimist. I complain about the season, complain about my family situation and find myself saying "I hate Christmas!" frequently. As much as I try to be a positive person in general, Christmas gets the best of me. BUT WHY? Christmas is NOT supposed to be about me. But I am quite ashamed to admit that I am constantly trying to make it center around me.
I don't have enough money for all the gifts I want to buy
I don't have normal family relationships
I don't have time for 12 Christmas stops
I don't get enough time off work around the holidays
Selfish. Selfish. Selfish.
Christmas tends to make me feel broken. Beat down. Financially broke. Kinda ungrateful. It's ugly. I have come to expect the worst, and that's not really who I want to be. But this year, just three days before Christmas I have renewed sense of HOPE. Hope in the fact that God is still working all around me - even on the hard days when I feel very far from him. Hope that my family can be restored. Hope that Christmas can still stand for exactly what it should always stand for - even though I try to manipulate the meaning and make it about me. Hope in GRACE!
So this morning, as my attitude was slowing shifting from Scrooge to Buddy the Elf, I had an epiphany of sorts. This IS what the Advent season is about. It's what it's ALL about! Christmas is about celebrating the ultimate gift of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ and recognizing that He came to rescue us from this broken world. I read something a couple weeks ago over at (in)courage and it's really stuck with me. I've gone back to re-read it several times, but it wasn't until today that it truly clicked.
Christmas is the ultimate story of hope, of grace, of restoration. Isn't that just the best reminder??
My life can feel messy. When the mess feels overwhelming and heavy (which can be more times than I'd care to admit), I tend to completely forget the redemption of restoration. I tend to focus only what is weighing me down, and then I'm unable to feel God around me. Things have changed drastically for me since last Christmas. I went back to reread my Christmas post from 2014 and I laughed a little at how much things have changed. Somehow I always forget how vastly things can change just within a year's time!!
I think slowly, but surely, I am learning these lessons. But I also know eventually that even if this time of year is always a little hard on the heart for me, God's hope of restoration is always always always here. And for that, I am thankful!
Oh yeah - and in case you missed it - this Christmas I am going to be showing off some new bling!!!!! I got engaged on 12/12!! Even though it's been 10 days already, I still can't shake the excitement. I cannot wait to marry this man. I hope he knows how much I love him. Talk about the ultimate feeling of coming full circle with my journey. I can't wait to see what God has planned for us (& hopefully our family) this coming year!!
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!! I hope you can take a moment to breathe in your blessings and recognize that is always something to be thankful for! I know I will be forcing myself to do that over the next week. XOXO