Over the past few years, I’ve shared the “Journey toward Bethlehem” with you reader friends as we’ve explored what might have been in the hearts and minds of those very real people in the quiet, wondrous, incredibly human-and-divine miracle we celebrate at Christmas. The coming into this dark and sin-broken world of Jesus…for us.
And that, I really need this Christmas.
This fall has been such a blur, between my first semester of teaching high school and getting ready to get married. And while both those things are great blessings, the stress has also been very high, for both my fiancé and me. We’ve often said things we shouldn’t have, hurt each other’s feelings, or just plain been tired. We’ve come back to the Lord together over and over, asking His forgiveness and help to start anew on this journey He’s leading us on.
And it’s because of Christmas that we can do that. Because of Jesus…who came to save His people from their sins.
That’s what I’m longing for right now…more of Jesus, and the rest that is found only in Him for our weary, wandering hearts.
I don’t know where we are going to live once we get married—I found out last night that the apartment we liked best and were almost ready to put an application on is no longer available. I’m not sure how I’m going to get done all I need to in this one week left before Christmas (how did that happen?!), between grading finals and essays and wrapping presents and working on wedding invitations and Christmas parties and apartment-hunting and somehow trying to fit in quality family and fiancé time amid all that, in addition to the challenge of blending two families’ holiday traditions—and an annoying little sore throat and cold-in-the-head.
Whew. Can you relate?
I’m sure you have your own list—whether it’s just crammed with “normal” stress and busyness, or if you are dealing with special burdens and heartaches this Christmas. Some dear ones I know are either remembering the loss of a loved one at this season, or anticipating it any day.
I guess that’s why we need Advent. Because Advent doesn’t necessarily require us to feel merry and jolly. It just asks us to long for Jesus…to remember the long waiting for His coming 2000 years ago, and to remember we are waiting for Him again right now…to come again in body, but also to come right now into our struggling lives and hearts with His healing, His hope, His peace, His beauty.
I’ve been thinking about Mary and Joseph, another engaged couple, and all the stress and curveballs they faced…even to struggling to find a roof over their heads. Their season of betrothal and early marriage was certainly not what they expected, and it must have often been very hard. But the Lord was with them, and He was working something far more wonderful, more amazing, more beautiful than they ever could have dreamed their humble lives would hold.
And I think He wants to do that in our lives too, if we will let Him…if we are willing to let go, be still, and know that He is God…Immanuel, God with us, in all our weakness and brokenness and confusion.
He really is. And that is worth celebrating.
What are you longing for this Christmas? What helps you turn your heart towards Jesus in this season? Please comment and share!