a broken Christmas

img_5063

Lately, I’ve been broken. As in, physically broken. I came down with shingles the last week of October. The doctor told me I would be sick for anywhere from two weeks to two months. Being the complete optimist I am, I barely even heard the “two months” part. I totally assumed my recovery would be in the “two week” category. I’m not sure why, since I’ve never exactly been the picture of perfect health. I am a lot of things, but consistently healthy has not been one of them for a long time.

So the reality of my recovery turned out to be totally different from what I had imagined. Truly debilitating back pain for weeks on end was exhausting. I’ve spent a LOT of time in bed over the last (nearly) eight weeks. There has been a lot of Netflix and Hallmark Christmas movie-watching happening (I’m not proud of it – but it’s the reality – so there you go). I’ve also spent a lot of time wondering what God was doing; what was he trying to teach me through this? And could I possibly learn it some other way? I cried a lot of tears – just as many from frustration as from actual pain. There were so many days where I would decide I was going to be better that day, but my body didn’t get the memo., and it left me disappointed and frustrated. It’s hard to be a mom and out of commission for an extended period of time. After my extended illness during the summer of 2013, I had really hoped I’d never find myself there again. But, there I was. In bed again.

So as December arrived, I was experiencing improvement, but it was ever so slow. Cyber Monday – the day I usually complete 80% of my Christmas shopping – came and went and I think I only completed about 5% of my usual shopping. I felt a certain amount of helplessness, and as December wore on, I realized this would not be a “normal” holiday season for me. I had moments where I would start to panic about all that needed to be done and all that I could not do.

I began to reflect on my broken state, and the fact that all I could really do was wait for Jesus to bring healing. (Oh, I took supplements and saw a chiropractor and ate healthy and all that stuff – I was a responsible patient! – but ultimately I knew my healing was in God’s hands.) As a mom, I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders to produce a “perfect” and “memorable” Christmas for my children.

But I was broken.

God spoke to my spirit and reminded me that’s why Jesus came. Because we were – and are – broken.
Helpless.
Lost in the dark.
Desperate.

He didn’t come because the world put up evergreen and twinkle lights, baked cookies, and wrote songs. He stepped into a world that was totally dark and broken because we needed saving. We were totally helpless.

img_5089

There’s this totally false expectation that society has placed on us that it’s up to us to “make Christmas perfect” (believe me, I’ve watched enough Hallmark movies to know). It’s this idea that Christmas is about our decorating, our traditions, even our family. But Jesus stepped out of the glory of heaven and the constant adoration of armies of angels, in order to come into our muck and our mess and our helplessness and become one of us. Not because we were good enough or did all the right things or followed the traditions. Simply because we were broken and needed rescue. He did not step into a Christmas postcard scene – he was born, pushed through a young woman’s birth canal, messy, into a stable that reeked of you-know-what.

So perhaps in my brokenness – in my insufficiency – in my weakness – lies the true meaning of Christmas? (I’ve always been broken, imperfect and insufficient; I’ve just not always been as aware of it.) Here’s what I mean: There’s nothing I can do to save myself. There’s nothing any of us can do, but to recognize him when he comes and to accept him as the King that he is. He came BECAUSE we are broken. And this Christmas, it doesn’t matter whether you bought all the presents or sang all the songs or did all the things. You could take away ALL that stuff and still experience Christmas. He’s coming, He CAME – for you and for me and for all of us – and we are rescued.

“A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices…”

I did not get Christmas cards made this year. It’s one of many “have-to’s” of the season that I didn’t get to. I still have a whole lot of thank-you cards to write to those who brought us meals while I was sick. But I will offer this blog post as my Christmas gift to you…not because it’s a literary masterpiece or anything…but simply because it’s what I have for Jesus this year. Gratitude. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been moved to tears over the last couple of weeks as I’ve pondered our helplessness as people (MY helplessness) and the extreme lengths he was willing to go to in order to save us. This has turned out to be one of my most tender-hearted Christmas seasons.

And if you’re a mom, there’s another gift I’d like to give you: take that burden off your shoulders to provide a “perfect Christmas” for your family. It’s not supposed to be there. Jesus is the only one who can carry that burden, and he already did it. His entrance into that stinky stable was the only perfect Christmas ever (though it probably seemed to the humans involved to be far less-than-perfect!). He carried that burden for me, and for you, and your kids, and your spouse, and every person on this planet. He carried the burden of perfection all the way to Calvary, where the only perfect human ever was broken and killed to pay the price for my sin and yours. It was messy there, too, and ugly…but it led to the first (and only perfect) Easter. So just stop placing burdens on your shoulders that aren’t supposed to be yours to carry. Rejoice in your brokenness and insufficiency. Rejoice in the less-than-perfect wrapping jobs and the cookies that didn’t get baked and the movies that haven’t been watched. Rejoice in the sibling fighting and the looooong winter school break. Because it’s there – in that mess and in that stink – that we recognize our need for a Savior.

It’s then that Jesus enters the picture and changes EVERYTHING.

It turns out that every Christmas is a broken Christmas, whether we recognize it or not. Embrace the brokenness. It’s the most authentic way to truly celebrate Christmas.

So, Merry {broken} Christmas my friends.

Courtney

P.S. For those that are wondering, I am finally feeling MUCH better! Not 100% yet but getting awfully close!

Published by Courtney

I'm on a journey towards hope and healing and glory and I mess up a lot. I laugh a lot. I cry a lot. I'm passionate about many things...bringing glory to my Lord Jesus, loving on my husband and three children, helping people find both hope and healing, creating beauty in the world around me, and working towards healing for my son with severe developmental delays. Join me as I document the joys and the pains, and attempt to process the difficult and the divine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: