Thanks to all who read and gave feedback on my "Scrooge-y" post from earlier this week. I wanted to post a quick follow-up comment from blogger Kara Chupp, whose words encouraged me so much in my Scrooginess. And then check out a freebie below her comment.
Okay... I'll be honest. I love Christmas and so much about it... The lights on houses and trees make me smile as I drive around in our dreary Oregon rain. The songs lift my heart, especially ones like those you've shared above. I love giving gifts and thinking about what would make a person feel loved. I like opening gifts ;) I like the doors it cracks for talking with neighbors about Him. I like stockings and Christmas cookies and advent readings and the way our children wait and count the days in anticipation. I even like the sappy, sentimental, cheesy hallmark movies ;)
But I also understand your wrestling. The Christmas after our daughter died I really struggled and the joy I witnessed around me felt misplaced. And my heart still hurts when I read the news and then think about how many are actually experiencing THIS Christmas...or when a friend is struggling... or when I'm somehow reminded of all the pain and suffering.
I love where you ended with this post. He knows that kind of heartache and struggle. He knows what it is to be homeless, to face pain and persecution. Jesus came to rescue and redeem, to offer promise of forgiveness and peace and no more tears in eternity. A hope that we wait expectantly for...
And we can live out a taste of that "good of the Lord in the land of the living". For whatever the reason, maybe to help us know the depths of His love, God goes beyond just meeting our deepest needs (rescue, redemption, salvation) and His love flows over into the abundance of giving us beauty, joy, friendship, creation. And we can be His hands and feet, living out some of that abundance in the lives of those around us, as we point them back to Him.
Anyway... I appreciate these words because without a recognition of the pain and great need of our human condition (whether we live in poverty or with riches) ...there is no way to truly appreciate or to actually celebrate Christmas as it should be enjoyed.
This may be random, but in my mind this this quote helps explains why I love the celebrations that surround Christmas so much. God created beauty in the garden even when He knew there would be sin & deceit and & death soon to follow...and He allowed that senseless beauty to continue on even past the garden walls into this world of destruction ;)
“Delight is the most useless of things.
It doesn’t get the house clean or the bills paid.
Useless–like rainbows. Like Beethoven’s Ninth.
Delight…It finds excuses to ooze all over the place…
It asks different questions than duty.
Duty says, ‘I should.’ Delight says, ‘I want to.’
Duty is efficient. Delight tends to be anything but…
The Bible in entirety is a love story, a tale of unquenchable delight–
His for us, finally ours for Him.”
~Andree Seu Peterson
And while Christmas Day is over, the season continues as we celebrate and rejoice and still long for the return of our Savior. So here are two free song downloads, written/arranged and performed by my awesome bro-in-law, Pete. The second one is one of my favorite Christmas songs--ever.
Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas! And, Lord willing, lots more writing and conversation in the new year.