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Archive for December 20th, 2016

 

            This afternoon my editor-in-chief, Nicola Martinez, emailed an encouraging letter to all her authors. My heart was touched as soul tears blurred my eyes. Most of my regular followers know our only daughter died a number of years ago, and due to her home-going and the onslaught of secondary losses, Christmas has been extremely difficult for me. Until last year. And I know many of you find yourselves facing your first Christmas without the one you love and it’s so painful and strange.

            Two years ago, after a heart-twisting meltdown, I made some serious changes and came face-to-face with the fact I’d attempted to travel that same old road, Christmas after Christmas, and it just didn’t work—each year became worse.

‘Til a close friend counseled, “You don’t have to keep traveling down the same road. You can take a new path.” And I listened and tried that new road, and it worked. Does that mean my heart is healed? Far from it…I still have boo-hoo moments, but they no longer incapacitate and prevent me from participating in the joy of Christmas. And your joy will return. It won’t be tomorrow, and it may not be next year, but Christmas won’t always be a time of dreaded darkness for you.

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            Today Ms. Martinez stared, unblinking, into the sufferings of that first Christmas. I pray her words will touch your heart as they have mine. I’ve often said, “That holy baby in Bethlehem was born to die so you and I might live.” But all we consider this time of year is the joy and by our contrast we are devastated.

            I asked to be sure she would not mind if I shared the blessing of her thoughts with you. Her response was quick. “Yes, you may share if you think it will help someone.” I pray the Spirit of God will give you new insight into the throbs of your heart and God’s comfort will soothe and give you peace.

                                                                                    DiAne

“I’ve had my head buried in computer code and databases that I’ve hardly noticed the time go by. With the exception of prayer, it’s rather made my Christmas preparation a little clinical. Add to that my kitchen at home is partially torn up right now, and for the first time in my adult life, I’m not fixing Christmas dinner. And the whole season seems a little strange. Yet, God is awesome, and my discombobulation is nothing compared to what some are dealing with right now.

So many are facing hardships. From illness to financial hardship to family estrangement and having to endure the first Christmas after losing a family member. It’s easy to lose sight of God’s promises. They can feel distant and almost out of reach even though we know as Christians that God and His promises are never out of reach.

You know, when it’s Lent and we’re approaching Easter, it’s easy to ponder Jesus’ suffering and how He endured the same hardships we do, and worse. But, at Christmas, the special joy the world seems to exude tends to outshine the reality that there was a lot of suffering in the birth of Christ. His mother had to tell her fiancé that she was pregnant, which meant risking not only divorce but possibly being stoned. Then, as she was just about ready to give birth, they were forced on a journey. (Mothers, you remember what it’s like to be “big as a house”, “out to here”, right? Must’ve been really comfy riding that donkey!) And what must it have felt like to have to lay the Son of God on a bed of rough straw instead of in a comfy bed.

Mary and Joseph must’ve felt like failures…certainly unworthy of the task to which they’d been entrusted. That wasn’t the end of it, though, because while the angels were singing “Glory to God in the Highest”, Herod was slaughtering babies and toddlers. Shocking, I know.

Those who suffer through loss and loneliness at Christmas are not alone. They are not far from God’s promises. They are as close as Mary and Joseph. They are as close as those parents who lost their children. They are as close as those martyred innocents. There was a lot of sadness and suffering when Salvation entered the world. And yet, this is rightly a season of Joy. Emmanuel: God with us. Through love and miracle, we have everything. There is nothing He can’t accomplish. All we have to do is believe. Trust. Give Him permission to work in our lives.

No matter what your circumstance is this holiday season, I hope you have time to enjoy the miracle of this life and His with which you are blessed. If you are in a place of happiness, contentment and abundance; praise Him. Have compassion for those who are suffering right now. Pray for them so they have the strength to make it through.

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If you are in a place of pain or sorrow or other hardship, try to rest in the promise. It is right there even if you can’t feel it. There is nothing in this world that can make your situation easier at this moment in time. For whatever reason, your situation is something you must endure. But you can endure! And when you come out on the other side, you will be better. I don’t know how, but I know it’s true, and I pray you know it, too.”

 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NAS).

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