As a child, Christmas was the most magical time of the year. Twinkle lights and Christmas music on the radio literally made everything merry and bright. Everyone seemed happier and lighter, and family gathered together as the fireplace glowed – leaving me with nothing but the coziest holiday memories of love, laughter and light.
As an adult, I am still the Griswold my parents instilled in me to be. I still feel giddy when Christmas music plays in the mall and I am still overcome with the warm fuzzy feelings that come with stringing lights on our tree while sipping cider.
But as I have gotten older, admittedly, the magic is no longer the same. I needed more than merriment and I noticed others did too. My tired Mama friends who are stretched thin. My single friends who are longing and lonely. Friends suffering such deep loss that they fear being swallowed whole by it.
We need room for the rest of our lives that were happening outside of the holly and the jolly.
There were Christmases I needed space for broken hearts, crushed spirits, severed relationships, death, financial stress, and exhaustion. I felt like Scrooge for carrying around those shattered pieces of myself when this was supposed to be a season of peace and joy. What if I wasn’t at peace? What if joy felt hard to come by?
Advent allows us questions, grievances, brokenness and loss. Advent says the Baby is on the way and Hope is assured and coming soon. It doesn’t suppress our hurting hearts; it offers them room to breathe, to cry, to ache, to mourn and to wait on the One who dries every tear.
Perhaps you don’t mind tinsel and mistletoe this year, or maybe you’re in a place where it feels like your heart might actually break in two. Wherever you are:
“Let yourself fall open to Advent, to anticipation, to the belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found, no matter how many times it’s been lost.” – Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6