Monday Musings – January 19, 2015

Dear Friends,

I want to share with you this time the last two paragraphs of a Christmas letter.  I have no idea who wrote this.  I got it from Sharon Johnsen.  It’s from one of her friends.

Traditionally “life is good” is where one would end a Christmas letter, however I don’t want to treat our lives like socks under the Christmas tree, trying to disguise what is wrapped up inside with beautiful paper and silky ribbons.  I don’t want to diminish the reason for Christmas by keeping up with appearances. I’m sure the aforementioned things, although true, didn’t convey how tough this year has been for our family.  As in: the-baby-wakes-every-two-hours-or sooner-tough; undiagnosed-health-issues-tough; feeling-alone-tough; questioning-our-faith-tough; and we-made-a-mistake-and-want-to-take-the-whole-move-back-tough.  Life is tough for everyone.  I’m sure you have  a “hyphenated tough list”, but for some reason we feel we have to keep quiet and keep up appearances.  Why?  I’m guessing we do it so others are attracted to us, so they want to be around us, so they desire relationship with us.  Maybe so even we will begin to believe everything is okay.  It’s funny that we feel the need to keep up appearances, because Isaiah 53:2 says this about Jesus: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”

No beauty.  No majesty.  Nothing to desire.  And talk about a tough list:  People-hated-and-killed-him-tough; friends-betrayed-him-tough; and few-understood-him-tough.  Yet there were many who clamored to be in his presence.  He had nothing tangible to give them; rather he gave them hope for something better, for something more, by pointing them in the direction of his Father.  He pretty much said, “This life will suck, but follow me and the life to come will never disappoint.”  He forged relationships from being relatable and acknowledging the deficits we all face in life, not from erecting facades or only focusing on the positive.  We need to stop feeling the pressure to decorate broken lonely hearts, because when the difficulties of life are identified, the joys in life become that much sweeter, and His coming is that much more needed.  This Christmas our family needs the REAL heart of Christmas, not the shining lights, the all-is-well letter, or presents in our stockings — we need the real gift — a Savior who came to help us find the hope and the happiness in the midst of hardship.  We are guessing you might too.

What a witness to a faith that is bigger and stronger than whatever we might be facing!  We can be real with God.  We can be real with each other.  Everything is not okay, but that’s okay.  God can handle it, and therefore, so can you!

In Christ,

John