Last week I cried at our pastors sermon about ‘the most wonderful & difficult time of the year’. She spoke to the people who struggle through it, whether from unemployment, infertility, depression, or a nameless battle. She spoke of John the Baptist, who dared ask, ‘Are you the One we’re waiting for, or should we keep on waiting?’ She spoke of being in good company with our questions, our doubts, our fears. And she said that all the trite things well-meaning people say are ‘complete BS’, which made me laugh thru my tears =)

While she was speaking, I was feeling weights lift. Weights of guilt and shoulds and expectation lifted as she gave the congregation permission to simply experience this season and all the feelings it may bring.

Sometimes Christmas is difficult, even amidst the wonderful, and sometimes we don’t even know why. It just is.
Years ago, a dear friend of mine – who also happened to be a pastor at our church – spoke about communion. She said that she always brings departed loved ones with her to the table, a way of remaining connected to them on a holy level. Since then, I have brought my three children with me to the rails, receiving the body and the blood with the two He met before I did. 

This idea comes to me at Christmastime, that our loved ones sit with us at our tables. Not in ghostly form or anything, but in our hearts and memories and spirits. Next week we’ll set our table with grandmas Christmas china, and I will bring her goodness, her gift of hospitality, her big smile and blue eyes with me.

I know she’s taking good care of my babies, and that they’re celebrating the most wonderful time of the year at a heavenly Table together.
Amidst the bustle, the baking, the wrapping and the good cheer, I pray you let yourself feel whatever rises to the top of your heart this Christmas. Sadness, joy, guilt, exhaustion, nostalgia, a deep ache for those gone… whatever the emotion, Christ came for its release. His birth is our beginning too, and that precious Babe in the manger is big enough to lean into sobbing. As the carol sings, ‘…the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.‘ All of them.

I pray your hopes and fears are met by Him, during this – the most wonderful and difficult time of the year.
{girl with blog}

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