I love Christmas. I always have and I always will love this festive season. As a kid I was the one who would get the tree out and decorate it with all sorts of ornaments and my love of Christmas has never waned. I mean, what’s not to like? Food, wine, and PRESENTS!!! There are all very good things.
My Christmas shopping began last June. Seriously. June. It’s not because I have a big family to buy for, but because I love presents. I love buying presents and I love giving them. From big to small, homemade or something designer, I just love gifts.
For many people, Christmas can be a hard season. For some, there is very little money, for others they are grieving the loss of a loved one and this season just reminds them of what they do not have. In some ways, this is my story this Christmas. 2014 has been one of the worst on record. It’s been a painful, lonely year and I am only too happy at the prospect of starting a new year.
I heard my friends Andrew and Mary Kat say that every situation we face, no matter good or bad, is a gift. At first, I could not have disagreed with them more. I mean, how can miscarriage be a gift? Or the loss of a loved one? Or financial pressures that make you want to burst into flames? And what about the mum whose child is terminally sick? Or the dad who has just been told that his services are no longer required at the office? How can any of these situations be a gift when they feel like a curse?
But my friends are right. I would never want to relive the circumstances of 2014, but I would not exchange my experience for anything. All the poop that flew my way actually exposed to me the poop that lay buried in my heart. I was forced to evaluate my beliefs, doubts and insecurities. I had to examine what was real and what was just a fear whispering in my ear. There was nothing I could hide behind – no job, no relationship, no material possession. It was just me and God. Sure, it was hard. Yes, I cried a lot. But I made choices to walk away from the poop that I had hidden away. And now, I know that I am crossing the finishing line of 2014 with a stride, not a limp. I am more whole, more healed and healthier than I have ever been. And this would not be the case if it wasn’t for the painful circumstances I have experienced. They were a gift.
Whatever you are facing this Holiday, my prayer for you is that you can find your gift – the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. May you allow your situation to expose something in your heart so that you can deal with it, move on and thrive in this coming year. And may you know that Jesus came to earth in a poop ridden stable and He was the greatest gift the world could ever have hoped for. Gifts are not always found in a Chanel box (although, these are lovely!), but sometimes in the unlikely places. Sometimes a stable, and sometimes in the midst of our brokenness and humility.