Out From the Cold

Out From the Cold

outsideThis is the time of year for lights, packages, and a frenzied pursuit of the “Merry” that is Christ-mas. Even in the Christian community we buy in to the “make it special” mind set with the end-less holiday pageants, singing trees, and “Jesus is the reason for the season” bumper stickers. We do as the world, but we add a Christian spin to it. Is Jesus really the reason we shop, light, drive, go, and eat our way through the month of December?

If you think this is a “Bah-humbug” article, that’s not my intent, but the flip side of those in the flurry of activity are those people too broken to engage. They feel on the outside of all the mer-riment as if standing out in the cold looking through a window. It doesn’t even matter what the specifics are. We may all have a Christmas someday which bumps into our painful circum-stance. It may appear that the rest of the world is warm and happy while our cold nose is rubbed in the fact that we are not.

Which leads us to the focus of this post—the real reason for the season.

It was a miraculous day when Heaven came down to earth. It was the day when God said, “It is time to open wide the doors and windows that separate us.” Every-thing changed with Christ’s birth—a birth that ushered in an amazing season of healing, unity, and hope. So if all these changes have such great meaning, why do we mourn so deeply during the holidays when our life is less than perfect?

I love the old Christmas carols and a beautiful nativity. I love the simplicity of Linus reading the Christmas story. I look forward to twinkling lights and brightly wrapped gifts under a fresh-cut tree. I enjoy all of the time held traditions, some passed down and some we have made. Though my ideas about how to rejoice in this season continually evolve.

I want to have time to reflect on the first Mary and the reasons to be merry, none of which can be wrapped with a bow. Being thankful for my family now means keeping an eye out for those the Lord shows me who would be blessed by joining our family table. Engaging in holiday tradi-tions has given way to letting go and watching my adult children replace some of our rituals with their own new traditions.

Lighting our home, now means putting a light in each window as a sign we wait for the Light of the World to come back. And the giving of a gift is out of an overflow. There is no obligation, re-sentment or need for a price tag. My favorite gift is called “a gift of words” where I craft a letter to each family member letting them know all the wonderful attributes I see in them. The few pack-ages under the tree are merely a physical representation of the generous spirit I want the Lord to continue to manifest in my heart all year. Gifts are not limited to my family. They are now for those God puts on my heart and for His glory.

So, go enjoy this season, but ask the Lord to show you those who need the blessing of being seen and an invitation out of the cold. If you are that person shivering and struggling with what your Christmas is not, then find those less fortunate and serve them in any small way. There will always be those better off and worse off. There will be great years and rough years for every-one. It is all temporary, both the joy and the sorrow, but the love of God is eternal and He can miraculously use it all for our good. This is the best time of year to focus on this timeless truth: God came down to earth for any and all who believe in Him and it is His amazing love and grace that makes every season merry and bright!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

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