If you are like me this time of year can bring out all the joy and more than its fair share of the pain and loneliness. There is nothing like unpacking Christmas decorations while watching Hallmark movies to make you feel grief like you haven’t felt it all year. Like a switch, I can go from Joy to the World to bawling into my coffee over an old memory.
At only 31 years old, I find myself an orphan and over a 1000 miles away from nearly everyone dear to my heart on Christmas. All I want is to sit with my mama while she attempts to complete some massive craft project she’ll never finish and watch my dad try to smooth the older than dirt fake tree he can’t let go of. Memories flood me this time of year and attempt to lead me into loneliness and grief. I find myself with a deep longing to just be seen, counted, and heard by my loved ones who I can no longer make memories with. Time and time again I try my best to wallow in self-pity and comparison. I envision everyone else with a perfect Hallmark family Christmas while I lay a trap of grief and sadness for myself to fall into.
Yet, the more years that pass and the more women in pain I meet, the more I realize that everybody is grieving something and longing to be counted. Christmas time or not, we all long for somebody to see us right where we are, tell us we are enough and whisper that they are proud of who we have become.
I’m pretty positive our favorite Christmas couple felt that way too. Mary and Joseph were forced to make a crazy long journey at a super inconvenient time to literally be counted for the census. It could have been a magical journey for them but I’m doubting it. I’m pretty sure that with as pregnant as Mary was, there was some yelling at Joseph for his donkey steering and dreams of hot baths and coffee (there would be for me anyway). With Nazareth in sight, contractions ‘a coming, and the chill of the night kicking in, they find out that there is literally no room for them anywhere. Nobody to welcome them in from the cold, no parents to hug them, and no craft projects spread about the table. Instead, Mary gives birth in a barn because they had to place to go.
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a
manger,because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 ESV
No matter how Mary was feeling about the situation at the time, Jesus wasn’t meant to enter the world in a warm bed and be placed in a gilded cradle. He was meant to be born right where he was, clothed in humbleness and humility. God chose to show his great love for us by entering the world in a fabulously raw and primal way and it brings beauty into the story in a way nothing else could.
So my friends, my prayer for you this season is that you are able to look around you and realize that you are meant to be right where you are. In the midst of all of your grief, loneliness, and the chaos lies an undercurrent of beauty waiting to envelop you. God doesn’t want you to drown in the grief this season brings. He wants you to realize that He is your life preserver. Every circumstance He allows you to endure shapes you little by little into the image of God. Flowers are waiting to bloom in your valley of sadness this season. Cry into your coffee and then let His promises dry your tears. Jesus was meant to be born in a barn and you were meant to walk through grief and brokenness. I wish I could say that “fairness” in life was a real thing, but I have long since learned it is not. Instead of letting us all share the same life story, God molds each of us individually using our grief, circumstances, and loneliness to form us into unique and divine masterpieces.
I pray that this Christmas we rise above the grief and realize that not even Jesus had a place to counted on that first Christmas night. Cry the tears, say the angry words and then trust His plan for your life. I’ll be in thick of it this year right beside you.
If you need prayer for your grief or loneliness today please reach out to me, I’ll get you.