A Broken Christmas Spirit

you are lovely-5

“If our faith is to be authentic and personal, 

it must be tried in the crucible of reality.” 

Penelope J. Stokes 
(Refresh My Heart~Sunlight on Shattered Glass by Joni Eareckson Tada)

   “Mom, what’s your favorite holiday?” Rebeckah asked me.

We curled upon the couch beside the dim flickering of our Christmas tree after our decorating mission appeared complete. I stared off, knowing deep down my answer wouldn’t coincide with how our day had developed so far, so I hesitated to answer. My festive attitude was less than desirable hours earlier, in spite of having everything I could ever hope for this Christmas, and it still puttered with tension even after all our ornaments were hung with care. 

   Our, or rather, my greatest single mission yesterday–to get the Christmas tree up, ornaments hung, house decorated for Christmas, clean, and all done before our gathering for Bible study. For some reason though, it didn’t matter to me if the kids were playing Old Maid after their class work was finished, they were making little beds for their stuffed animals, or petting the dog–I was completely determined and it was going to happen so we would be ready for the Bible study–! (Insert forehead slap here)

It was pathetic.

   My defenses were low due to a lingering illness but rather than giving myself a very long and much needed time out, cancelling our gathering, or even praying to the God I say I believe in for help–we pressed on and on. We accomplished making our home sparkle late into the afternoon until their grandma gathered them for their scheduled overnight trip. The Bible study went well while I rested upstairs in my bedroom and all I could think–I hope it’s going well and I hope they like what we did. (Insert another forehead slap here.) After a good night’s sleep however, I realized what I didn’t want to accept the day before–my attitude reflected the real desire of my heart this Christmas thus far and it wasn’t Christ. It wasn’t to train up, disciple, set an example, bless, or share in a beautiful tradition with my children–it was all about the images circling my own head, desires, and a whole lot of earthly expectation. In an effort to make things ready, I made somewhat of a mess I believe. The Christmas stuff meant to draw me toward Christ–drew me away from Him and those I love.

God help me.

This morning, no words were written in my prayer journal and my eyes weren’t closed to pray, instead, I spoke out loud to God in my quiet place and brokenness found me. God wanted better for me yesterday. He showed me my weakness and then I became speechless again–because truly nothing else mattered but Him. Christmas, in those moments, had become simplified. In the quiet after every list, agenda, expectation, image, personal goal, and desire was laid low before him. He simply wanted me to come with it all and dump it, so, I did. I dumped it. I took responsibility with Him and my children and we’ve since started over on this sunny day with a new outpouring of mercy and grace. All that remains now–my broken Christmas spirit and surprisingly–that’s all God desired for me this Christmas in the first place. I’m thankful He desires this for all of us this Christmas season, so I give you yet a few more things to consider today as you prepare your homes and maybe your own broken spirit for the most hopeful and celebrated time year–

“When the light of the Lord Jesus falls upon a shattered life, 

that believer’s hopes can be brightened.” 

Joni Eareckson Tada (Refresh My Heart-In the Spring by Word Publishing)

“Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits…(Read more here from James 1:9-17 ESV

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