Reflecting on this Christmas Season

Sometimes I have so many thoughts and want to write eloquently about them, but get overwhelmed by all I wish to say, so I don’t write at all. Weeks will go by, and I’ll wish I had taken the time to sort through it all.

Normally I sleep like a baby on planes, but last night, even though I was completely exhausted, I couldn’t seem to rest, so I figured it was time to write.

I spend a lot of time alone these days. I have always enjoyed alone time, but I admit, it can be pretty isolating when you’re living in a new city and being alone is not chosen, but instead imparted on you. When you’re pushing through recovery, it can be overwhelming emotionally to be alone for long periods of time. You notice the details of how different your body feels, and it is an impressive mind-game not to obsess over each change.

I recently read somewhere that it is easy to look in retrospect and see how God moved in the past, but it is harder to take time to acknowledge how he’s moving now. However, I believe this has been my biggest hope and prayer over the last several months, since being diagnosed with cancer. With each day, I find myself reverting back to questions of how I see God moving in the littlest details, and I am reminded of His presence.

I feel so close to Him these days.

However, I have also realized the danger of glamorizing suffering, and downplaying it. Pain exists in the world, and it is a result of the broken world we live in. It reminds us that the world is not as it should be, and points to the need for a Redeemer.

With this in mind, I have learned the importance of calling suffering for what it is and not reverting to what Tullian Tchividjian in his book Glorious Ruin says is the “Oprah” approach—always recounting suffering only for the good that resulted.

While I agree that character is shaped and relationships can be strengthened through suffering, placing suffering in a category that states its existence is always for a greater good, is dangerous. Suffering is painful, and I pray we can approach suffering by first acknowledging that frankly, well, it hurts. This is something I have been learning.

I naturally want to showcase the good in what I am facing and sometimes forget to face these difficult situations honestly. Facing suffering head on and initially calling it for what it is, has been essential for my understanding of the world we live in and why I place my hope in Christ, the Redeemer. I am thankful for that.

I find this year I am humbled and overwhelmed by the season of Advent—the season of expectation—and Christmas.  In the wake of suffering and this season of my life, the birth of Jesus, the Redeemer of all that is broken, holds a truer meaning.

While this seems to be a heavy post, I assure you that it is because I am so deeply impacted by Jesus’ presence and guidance during this season of my life. I can truly say he is walking beside me. There will come a day when pain and suffering will cease and all that is broken will be restored and made new. This is all I can think about heading into Christmas and the New Year, and it brings me great joy.

 

Merry Christmas, friends.

 

a-charlie-brown-christmas

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