A year ago the hubs and I spent a weekend away. Surrounded by decoration and festivities, I found my heart tender to the stories around me. When I came back, I wrote about it, simply to encourage anyone who finds hurt in this season.

Now, as December begins again, I find myself back there, humbled, hopeful and needing to share.


December songs tell us it's to be the warm and cozy month. The one where we are satisfied, full and overflowing.

And, yes, there are seasons of life where this is true. Where the magic is felt and seen and believed.


But then, there are other seasons of life.

Because in the month where seemingly everything is expected to twinkle or, at very least, jingle, there remains real hurt.
And is not a nod, a tribute to some,
but actually a uniting life theme, we all, at one time or another, face.
When commercials sing of piles of gifts and ribbons and festivities, we find ourselves trying to stretch and count and reallocate, searching for a way to afford what we wish we could give.
When others gather for jovial, candlelit full, long-tabled dinners, we long for those we've lost, or sometimes worse, those we fear we are losing.


Even with December's trimmings, life continues with its sharp words and broken hearts and bleeding memories and the frozen flowers at the grave.
And sometimes, it seems, this hurt is brought to light by the very merry we are supposed to be feeling.


I was reminded of this all by a song I heard the other day. Technically, it wasn't a Christmas tune, but it was a song about pain. And, it got me to thinking about the very first Christmas.
Mary, a starry-eyed young girl, dreaming of her life ahead devoted to her first love, Joseph, their marriage day, their newlywed bliss, just the two of them, starting a life together, as one.
I remember the engaged days. Full of dreaming, the planning, the rose-colored glasses, the hope.


Then there was Joseph, pining for his love, counting down the days to finally be with her, to care for her, to be hers and only hers, to build their family, to build their dreams.

The first Christmas was, in fact, everything of these dreams lost.


A wedding postponed, rumors of her infidelity, the weight of a fatherless child, not even able to settle in for those last aching weeks of pregnancy before they were misunderstood and then displaced, jolt after bounce after step of fatigue to the unknown, no rest for the weary.
And then serenaded by mire and loneliness, isolated, they, mere children themselves, brought a baby into the world that considered them a nuisance, an afterthought.
Not only that but then, driven again, they left dreams of warm recovery, family embraces, settling, building, establishing behind as they were forced to flee certain death.


 This was the way Christmas began.

Dreams dreamed and lost.

Some years they are small ways, trivial in comparison, but can't we all relate? Loss in the gift that just didn't get celebrated the way we planned. An unexpected work shift. The invitation we didn't receive.The delayed flight. A burned-black dinner. Exhaustion from the year.

And yet, many times, the hunger of dreams unfilled is so much more vicious. Tension at the table, years of what no one can speak. The job, financial provision suddenly gone. A relationship changed without explanation. The one we loved and lost before we even held them in our arms. Or after years of traditions and memories, someone's place missing, their plate unfilled, their voice unheard.

This life as we've all heard the stories or know through our own, is full of these dreams unrealized.
And yet,
just as it shone that the first Christmas,
guiding, promising,
there's a star,
a light in the night.
Mary's dreams of a safe, normal life may have been lost but dreams she didn't even know possible were born. Her Son, was The sun and fulfilled Christmas night, the birth of restoration,
Hope Himself.
Joseph's dreams of leading his own family may have been lost for a time, but in Christmas is brought the abundance of life led by forgiveness, peace and abundant joy.
Their dreams of a homecoming for a new family of three to Nazareth may have been lost,
but, now, only through this loss is it possible for us to now, find our Home.
The song I mentioned earlier? It's called Blessings.
"We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things...
What if my greatest disappointments,
the aching of this life, is a revealing of a thirst this life can't satisfy."
And so, my prayer for this Christmas season is for those misunderstood and disappointed, the displaced, the lonely, the confused and grieving, the hungry,
may we find that somehow despite, through, or, perhaps because of
the loss,
the pain,
in comparison to the glory ahead
these wounds are fading
we are never forgotten,
our heart is known,
and our deepest dream
will be fulfilled.
In this life or the next,
the story is not over.
Greater things are still to come.
As Mary sang as she waited for her Son, her Savior,
"My soul praises the Lord’s greatness! My spirit finds its joy in God, my Savior, because he has looked favorably on me, his humble servant. From now on, all people will call me blessed because the Almighty has done great things to me. His name is holy. For those who fear him, his mercy lasts throughout every generation."Luke 1:46-50My prayer today is that the celebration of this season reflects, resonates the promise of forgiveness,our assurance of fulfillment.blessingpin

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