I have a disco ball. Truly, it’s Kate’s, but I insist that she leave it in the dining room. When the air starts to get cooler in the fall, and the earth tilts just a little differently, I put the disco ball on the table and the room is awash in small dots of light. It doesn’t work in the summer, just in the winter months. Small bits of light to remind me that there is always beauty to be found when I search for it.
It’s the first week of December, the month of frenzied excitement and craziness. I crack open the bin of decorations and the Christmas smells leak out. It’s the smell of nostalgia. It’s the joy and the sorrow, the hope and the grief, all at once.
There’s a tension to this season, isn’t there? There’s glitter and excitement and happiness spilling over. But often, there is deep sorrow. There’s disappointment in the space between what we thought would be and what really is. Our lists keep getting longer and the weariness doesn’t fade.
Every year the tension of December surprises me. But there is one thing that holds me steady— the story of a baby and the generations of people who made up His family tree. We get out our Jesse Tree with our funny homemade ornaments and we listen to the stories again. We remember again with David’s words in Psalm 119: 30, “The unfolding of your words gives light”.
Because here’s what I need to know every Christmas— I need to remember that life is messy and far from perfect. I need to know that Jesus knows my sorrow and He cares for me. I need to know that He hears the cries of my heart when I hang up the empty stocking and put a tiny Christmas tree next to a grave. I want to know I’m not alone.
As we begin the season of Advent, this time of waiting for the birth of Jesus, I’ve written something for you. Join me over the next few weeks as we discover together the hope held out for us, using people who were in the family tree of Jesus. People like Abraham, who held on to the promise that God would bless him, even in the midst of unanswered promises. People like Jonah who discovered that God comes to us in our storms. People like Mary, who saw that even our emptiness can be used by God.
I don’t know where you are this holiday season, but if you are in a place of darkness and sorrow, I want to whisper words of hope to your weary soul. Though you may feel it, you are not alone. My heart is with you. I’ve been there. But even more importantly, Jesus is with you. He is near to the brokenhearted and those who are crushed in spirit.
So come back here over the next few weeks as we unwrap gifts of those who have bravely gone before us.
And if you are hurting this season? I would love to know so I can pray for you. Leave a note in the comments or write me an email. We may not be sitting on my couch having a real conversation, but I’m thankful for the ways we can reach out to one another.