Say Yes – part 1 – “Christmas is . . .”

Posted by on Dec 12, 2011 in A Story, Blog | 0 comments

“Christmas has arrived again . . . . Somehow I realized that songs, music, good feelings, beautiful liturgies, nice presents, big dinners, and many sweet words do not make Christmas. Christmas is saying ‘yes’ to something beyond all emotions and feelings. Christmas is saying ‘yes’ to a hope based on God’s initiative, which has nothing to do with what I think or feel. Christmas is believing that the salvation of the world is God’s work and not mine. Things will never look just right or feel just right. If they did, someone would be lying. The world is not whole, and today I experienced this fact in my own unhappiness. But it is into this broken world that a child is born who is called Son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, Savior.

I look at him and pray, ‘Thank you, Lord, that you came, independent of my feelings and thoughts. Your heart is greater than mine.’ Maybe a ‘dry’ Christmas, a Christmas without much to feel or think, will bring me closer to the true mystery of God-with-us. What it asks is pure, naked faith.” in Road To Daybreak by Henri Nouwen

I had to read this quote several times and each time let it sink deeper into my soul. You might want to give it a go. I just love the phrase – “Christmas is saying YES . . . .” Yes to what? It is saying yes to something beyond the perfect Christmas gift that you found on sale, getting your Christmas letter out before December 25th, your child actually smiling and not crying for his picture in Santa’s lap, your favorite sweet potato recipe with the marshmallows lightly browned and bubbly, a house full of laughter and wrapping paper scattered all over the floor, a candle light service where everyone stays in their sweet Christmas outfit long enough for the perfect picture. It is something more. It is beyond these circumstances even beyond how we feel about these circumstances. It is saying YES to “a hope” not a myriad of hopes, one hope, “a hope based on God’s initiative.” It is nothing we have done on our own. It is Father God saving you, saving me, saving all of us from a life based on these circumstances whether they are happy or sad.

Because for some of us, this Christmas won’t be as happy as others have been. It will be the first Christmas without someone. It will be a Christmas where you find nothing on sale and spend entirely too much. It will be another Christmas with extended family and the elephant in the room that no one will discuss. It will be a string of holiday events where you smile just a little harder and cover up the pain with as many activities as you can just so you won’t have to deal with the truth. For some, it will be lonely, disappointing or just nothing special. Still, Christmas is saying YES amidst these pains, in spite of these pains, through these pains. These are the “things” not right – the broken pieces in our broken lives. And it is into this brokenness that he came. Jesus Christ is our MORE! He is the one who saved us from all this circumstance whether it be a “holly jolly” Christmas or a “blue, blue” Christmas! We walk in freedom and say to Father God – Thank You!

“With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. This Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote or unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all . . . . Absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8:1-3, 39

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