Hating Christmas?

I was recently in a store when I overheard a woman at the register saying, “I’m beginning to hate Christmas.”

My heart sank because I adore Christmas. But not for reasons most would know.

When I was a little girl, I went to church but never really knew God. And what I knew of Him, I was afraid of. I felt like He was this big monstrous person who was out to get me.

Until Christmas.

Christmas time, the church was decorated with trees in the front of the sanctuary. The harsh, overhead lights were dimmed and the soft glow from those trees gave a gentleness to church.

And there was baby Jesus lying in the manger right in front. I found myself standing on tippy toes (we always sat in the back), believing He was going to move any minute, and I was going to see Him and tell everybody. I spent most of those December services, staring at baby Jesus. I was hopeful. Expectant.

It took years (that’s another story), but I realized God wasn’t a cruel god who was out to get me and zap me with a lightning bolt whenever I messed up. Like the baby Jesus with His arms reaching out from the manger, God was reaching out to me. And He’s done it every Christmas since.

It has nothing to do with decorations, although I enjoy them immensely. It has nothing to do with baking and presents and watching my favorite Christmas movies (there are many).

Christmas has everything to do with Jesus Christ reaching out to save us from eternal darkness and from our own personal dark places (mine – the falsehoods I thought were true about Him). It’s about Him drawing us into a relationship with Him by showing us how much He loves us. He came for us. He’s coming back for us.

It’s all about standing on tippy toes with expectation and excitement and joy sending you into fits of laughter because His love is swelling within and you can’t  contain it. You just can’t.

So, my dear friend, if you’re saying you hate Christmas, ask yourself why.  Commercialism, despair, stress, and anxiety are all thieves. They will steal your joy if you let them.

Don’t let the darkness distract you from the Light of the world that’s reaching out to you. Instead, dance in the light of life this Christmas with the One who came to draw you into His arms for all eternity.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12 NIV.)

A Christmas Moment in October


As the leaves are changing and the air is getting chilly here in small town USA, I’m thinking about Christmas.

Yes, that’s right. Christmas. Already. (Cue eye-rolling for those of you who still think I’m nuts.)

Maybe I’m a little biased. I did spend a good bit of this year writing and rewriting a Christmas novella (I JUST sent out the manuscript!!), so my brain has been on Christmas mode a lot. (And LOVING every second of it!) And thanks to my sweet hubby who relinquished part of his man cave, I now write in my own little Christmas corner of the world.

But I’m thinking we could all use a Christmas moment right about now. A moment where we step back from the darkness invading our world to immerse ourselves and bask in the presence of Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

You see with Jesus, He gives you rest. He gives you peace. He’s given you His Holy Spirit, so you are always connected to Him.

With Jesus, you never struggle alone. Darkness will not overtake you.

Of course you can play your favorite Christmas songs and movies. (I’m there with you!) You can start baking those cookies or making the dough and freezing it, so you’re ready when people start hollering at you from across the room that they need your chocolate covered marshmallow cookies. (Or maybe that’s just me!)

But there is more JOY in spending time with the One who came to save, the One who is coming again. There is joy and a calming stillness in His light that the world can’t touch.

Take a moment, my friend. Take a Christmas moment. Spend time with Jesus Christ. Call out to Him. Read His Word. And don’t let the world tarnish or steal that time from you.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” (John 8:12 NIV.)

It Makes Perfect Sense to My Heart

snow flowers

Sometimes things don’t make sense to me. Why is snow falling on the delicate flowers in our yard and melting the moment those flakes land, before I can get a single photograph?

And why did God allow me to write about the pain Jesus endured on the cross, my own heart torn in two (read here), but not about the joy of Easter morning so my heart could overflow with joy?

Perhaps He wanted me to stay at the cross awhile longer, so I wouldn’t dismiss it after a day or two; to be still at His feet and really take in the gravity of Jesus’ actions that day. For me. And for you.

And really, only God knew about today; the snow falling on the timid flowers and the question I would ask. “When, Lord?” He knew my question before I asked and told me today it’s time to stand up from the foot of the cross.

I imagine lifting my hand from the rough wood, cherishing Jesus’ blood that soaked in to my own fingertips, and closing my hand; holding His sacrifice closer in a more profound way. I look upon His face once more and close my eyes, allowing the image to burn into my mind; so when I feel bouts of selfishness or discouragement, I will close my eyes and see Him and remember what He has done for me and how much He loves me.

It’s time, so I stand from the foot of the cross and remember Jesus had to be carried from it. I wipe the tears from my face and thank Him for the freedom I have to stand, and the life I have here and now as well as eternal life.

Finally, I’m going to do what I’ve been desperately longing to do since I first knelt here: I’m going to run to the tomb.

I’m going to imagine running to the tomb like I’ve never run before because I want to be bathed in the light that glows brighter than the street of gold reflecting upon me. I’m going to run past every distraction, past all the things I need to do because this is where I need to be. And I’m going to stop at the entrance of the tomb, a place that should be dark, and I’m going to be thrilled at the sight of the empty tomb permeated with light. A light so pure and heavenly it cascades like water flowing over the rocks on the ground, washing over me.

And I’m going to stand in the light, letting it warm and heal all of my brokenness; the sensation of it dancing across my skin. I’m going to close my eyes and visit the image of my Savior on that cross. Not because I’m struggling with selfishness or discouragement, but because I don’t ever want to forget. And I want to be totally aware of the striking contrast of what I have seen and what I’m about to see:

I open my eyes and see Jesus Christ, my Jesus, standing before me in all of His radiance and glory. He is so tender and kind, and so mighty, and I realize He is smiling. I am in such awe that my Lord and Savior is actually smiling at me. His eyes reflect everything pure and lovely and holy. I struggle to stand in His presence, but He steadies me. We gaze upon each other as if we’ve known each other all along, as if there are hidden words we share when we look upon each other that belong solely to us. My heart tells me, it’s all true.

It doesn’t make sense why the Son of God should die for me. But it makes perfect sense to my heart: He loves me.

And He loves you.

Thank you, Jesus.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12 NIV.)

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:9 NIV.)

 “They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!’” (Luke 24:2-6a NIV.)