My favorite day of the year is only three days away.
And to be honest, I find myself fraught with mixed emotions. Many people in my life are battling some serious heartache this year. And it's led me to wrestle with the dichotomy of the season. How can one day bring about so much sadness, while also evoking so much joy?
And yet... isn't that what Christmas is all about?
Jesus Christ was born so that one day He could die, paying the price for the sin of all mankind. He suffered immensely on this earth to eventually die an excruciating death on the cross. On its own, that knowledge is heartbreaking. But as we celebrate His birth, we know that's not the end of the story. Three days after His death, He rose from the grave. And because of His sacrifice, our debt was paid in full. We were given grace upon grace. A gift of forgiveness and a new life. Speaking as someone who has accepted this gift, I can't begin to describe the incredible, all-consuming, overwhelming joy I've experienced. This new life isn't perfect. There's still hardship, pain, and struggles. But I have peace in knowing I'm a child of God. I have the promises written in His word. I have the strength that only He can provide. And I have a joy deep in my soul that defies my circumstances. And on Christmas Day, when I celebrate Christ coming to earth, giving the ultimate gift of new life to any and all who will receive it, that joy can't help but bubble to the surface.
It's a joy I pray spills out of my heart onto the page as I write stories about broken people who find hope and healing. And it's why I particularly delight in setting stories during the Christmas season. It truly is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. But not always for the reasons we may think.
So, wherever you are this year, please remember that you're not alone. You are loved. You are valued. You aren't forgotten.
If your holiday season is filled with laughter and fond memories, cherish every moment. And if this season has brought more than its fair share of heartache, don't lose hope. Reach out to the One who created you and loves you. He may seem far away at times, but I promise you, He isn't.
And please, reach out to me, too.
Until next time, I'll leave you with a few of my favorite verses that I like to reread this time of year.
Luke 2: 8-14.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."