Well here I am at the end of my struggle to celebrate Advent in my head and heart instead of my wallet and calendar. I’ll give it to you straight up, I didn’t find all the depth and peace I was hoping for. I got distracted and lost, I skipped daily readings and was less-than diligent, but you know what? It was better than any other year before. It was a step, a positive, freeing step in the right direction. It will alter the way I do my future Christmasing and although I am a tad discouraged I need to find contentment with this step closer to the beauty of our Jesus.
As much as I love the classic Christmas hymns and phrases, when I think of the birth of Jesus I use the words “revolution” and a “game-changer” more than “Silent Night”. Christmas was a turning point for the world and I love this so much that Kel and I named our first baby, a girl, Noelle. You see, Christmas keeps my hope alive, because even when the world seems dark and totally impossible, light can burst on the scene and change everything, for always. That is what my first baby girl was for me, she was the beginning of a beautiful new family. Her birth solidified this hope that all the pain and gray from my past would blossom and grow into a vivid new legacy. God is the true Redeemer of my life, but he has worked a thousand redemptions through my daughter in just 31 little months.
Christmas for me has always been a beacon of hope and restoration. No matter how bad a year was there was always a hearty meal of love to be enjoyed at Christmas, even if it was almost drowned out by the noise of those we recently lost and buried. Noelle is my reminder of that light and my commitment to use my hands, my life and my legacy to bring about God’s bright restoration on this earth. Her name draws me back to the truth that because of Jesus, all is being restored, redeemed and set right. All. All.
Jesus is the game changer from pain to relief, dark to light, questions to answers and despair to hope. He mends wounds and heals hearts, he fills holes and takes away loneliness. If you get nothing else out of this day remember that the manger contained more than we could ever wrap our heads around. Our absolute and total redemption.
Thank you Lord. Again and again.