I wrote this blog last Christmas and wanted to post it then but every time I sat down to do it I think the emotions were too raw to post for anyone to see. So here you go, a year later.
Decorating the Christmas tree has always been one of my favorite things in the year. I love watching the tree burst with Christmas lights and fill with sparkly things. I love pulling out old ornaments and remembering the stories that come with them. And that didn’t change this year, I still loved it, but woven in with every memory was a deep and echoing sorrow. So many of my ornaments carry memories of my childhood and moments with my family. This year with each joy came the pang of sorrow. My family broke this year. Every lovely and sweet moment remembered brought with it mourning what has been broken, grieving the fracture of the world I grew up in.
I’m sure my experience isn’t unique. For so many people Christmas is a time that stirs up painful memories and reminds them that things are broken. It brings forward emotions that have fallen into the background and sets them in front of you to feel it all over again.
Scattered throughout the tree are my childhood memories but in the midst of them are ornaments that carry with them the story of Christmas. Angels and stars. Wise men and shepherds. And a manger with the Savior of the world come to us. There on my tree was my own Christmas story in ornament form. Christ come to dwell in my own broken world, to live among the pain, to know it and feel it. To grieve with us and be grieved by us. To mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep. To take into himself, into his own body, the fracture of this world. To place my own story, and yours, into his.
As the sorrow of my family and the joy of God’s great love settles in me so does the sure hope that one day these fractures will be healed and broken things made new. As I sit now in the dark in front of my twinkling Christmas tree my soul knows the beauty of Christ with me and the hope of Christ victorious.
Thank you for this, Kristen. Leaves a lump in my throat but gratitude for Jesus in my heart.
That is such a beautiful reminder of why we celebrate. We have had brokenness and loss these past few years too. It is because Jesus came and dwelt among us, lived and died in our place that we can still find true joy in the midst of our hurting. I have friends facing this season with raw pain and I will share your words with them. Thank you for sharing your hurt to point others to the hope we have in Christ. And by the way, my heart has been broken for you all too. ❤