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Monday, November 28, 2016

For You Broken Ones This Holiday Season...

 All you longing hearts that find yourselves walking into this holiday season without hope...
 All you broken ones that feel the pain drive deep, the memories haunt, the fear grip low and hard...
 I hear you. 
I hear your grief as you face your first Thanksgiving or Christmas after a loved one died this year. I hear your cry of pain as you recall your significant other taking their life around this time. I hear your plea for help as you tell the world that you're done with it all...that you just want to end the suffering. You don't want to live another day. 
 Somehow, it seems that during the holiday season, our fears, our doubts are more evident. We seem to notice the love of family others have...and maybe what lacks of it in our own. We see the presents others receive...and mourn that nobody cares enough to give to us in our need. We feel the absence of those we've lost. We feel the darkness press us perhaps more than usual. Our emotional senses are heightened.
 This is the time of year when lost souls seek. When broken hearts look for some glimmer of hope to tell them that it's going to be alright. When closed hands just might briefly open to receive all things peace and goodwill to mankind.
 In your desperation, perhaps this word of grace may get you through another moment. Might help you make this season one of thankfulness and joy, no matter what heartaches beset your path.
 Draw close with me to the One who is at the center of it all. Yes, I see you closing up and thinking that you can't trust Him because His goodness somehow ran out for you this year. Just give Grace a chance in this moment...come to the start of where His redemptive plan came about.
 God didn't choose a place of great grandeur in which to enter the world. He didn't arrive with all the makings of a King. To us, it seems improbable. And rightly so. Kings don't come in stables...but He did. Kings don't come come with the purpose of dying...but He did. He did because He wanted us to see Him as a different sort of King. As One who enters into our mess, our fears. As One who isn't afraid of our darkness. 
 He chose a manger as His entering place. He chose the lowliest possible spot in which to make His presence known. Because God stoops low. His love drives Him to meet sin-sick souls in their dying-broken when all others might have given up. What King would do that? What King...other than Him?!! 
 As you carry your burden-load hard this holiday season, perhaps it may give you some reason to rejoice in that your Savior cared enough about you to enter this world and set into motion a plan to redeem your suffering for good. Maybe it just might make you smile to think that the One who has given you breath loves you enough to give you grace in this hard moment. Turning your eyes from how you feel onto the One who feels everything for you just may break the darkness. 
 And, because my God feels your pain this holiday season, I do too. And I pray for you. Whoever you are...if you're reading this, know that you're deeply loved. And that God is still good. If it were not so, He would've abandoned us sinful ones long ago. He would never have even thought of sending His Son to earth to buy our redemption. But because He did do all that...and so much more...hope can become your song this season. Praise can flow from hearts that barely beat...because He is still enough. 
 Thankfulness in the midst of our pain is what sets us brave ones apart. It's humanly against us to want to practice the hard-praise...when all we see are problems, to want to attempt to choose joy. When the fears seem to stare us right down and cause us to tremble, to instead desire to face them in faith. 
 I'm daring greatly...and I hope that you will, too. I don't know what challenges you're facing this year...but I do know that the God who entered our earth over 2,000 years ago is still breathing life-giving grace into hearts long dead. The miracle that took place in Bethlehem is still alive today, giving us assurance that nothing in this life we live (even the hard things) is ever wasted in God's plan. 
 And...because of that...we can take joy. We can open our hands in faith, knowing that He who holds the Universe, holds us.