Our Christmas tree is just beginning to emit that reminiscent Christmas-time aroma, and underneath presents are propped waiting to be opened. Our ornaments reflect 30 years of marriage and adventure, each has a story to tell and each reminds us of another place and time when we celebrated this most holy day.
Last night we attended our church’s first of four or five services. It was a packed house – standing room only. The music was just what you hope it will be at Christmas, and the message, throughout the evening served to make the birth of Christ relevant to a 21st Century crowd. Afterward we enjoyed dessert with friends, and upon returning home opened a stack of holiday greeting cards. I love the pictures – such lovely families and dear friends – wishing us Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
This time of year always make me so aware of the rich blessings we enjoy – I’m thankful for so many things that I hardly know where to start. We’ve seen and experienced God’s faithfulness, provision, direction, and love on all sorts of levels. Yet, I can tend to feel pretty blue this time of year – and always have. I sort of feel alone even in a crowd, and while I believe Jesus brings “joy to the world” I grasp to find joy in the moment. We aren’t lacking in any way, but I can feel kind of hollow and empty. Bob lavishes me with love and kindness, but I don’t always feel deserving. I keep telling myself it’s silly to feel these things…but every December it’s a battle.
I’ve taken time to talk to the Lord about this over the past few days, and He reminds me that He is the Wonderful Counselor…He came to earth because I need Him – we need Him.
This morning as I opened to Psalm 25 His words counseled my soul,”Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Look upon my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all of my sins. Look upon my enemies for they are many; and they hate me with violent hatred. Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You” (Psalm 25:16-21)
“Blessed be the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my supplication. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults. And with my song I shall thank Him. The Lord is their strength, and He is a saving defense to His anointed. Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance. Be their shepherd also, and carry them forever” (Psalm 28:6-9).
It’s comforting to recall to mind that He’s a wonderful counselor, and a shepherd, who prods when we need it and carries us when we can’t take the next step.
Christmas…Immanuel, God with us no matter what.