Friday, December 11, 2015

#ChristmasCares

Many of you responded to the last post with words I didn't expect. Truly. I've gotten emails and messages through Facebook and, with different voices, we all said the same thing: this Christmas is different, somehow.

I was thinking about it last night as I got up from the piano and stood in the middle of the front room and stared at the (still half undecorated) tree. Usually I have presents piled underneath it by this time in the season. But this year, on December 10, I can still see the Christmas tree skirt. And then it hit me: many of us are spending our days in the silent company of loss this Christmas. Just raw, consuming loss. 

It's true. Some are grieving the loss of someone they dearly loved who is now painfully absent from holiday activities and plans. Stockings are missing. A chair will be empty. A holiday will never again be the same... Some are mourning the loss of a job, a career, a sense of stability. Meals will get skipped. Parties and trips will be put off or avoided. Presents won't be exchanged. (There's just no money.)... Others are mourning the loss of a future they were once confident in. A country that held promise and opportunity. Now, the world is unraveling, and there's talk of dreadful, unspeakable things on the horizon... And still others are suffering through a loss of health and wellness. They'll be there, sure, but their family won't know- they can't let the children/grandchildren see- the agony they feel in their bones. The worry of whether this will be their last Christmas. The fear and grief of knowing time is running out and their days are numbered.

Loss is everywhere this Christmas. We're seeing it on each other's faces and feeling it in our own hearts. Times have changed. Life is different.

But oh, grieving and desperate hearts, Hope is coming, and soon we will see Him with our very own eyes.

Because of Jesus- my Hope whose birth was declared by a star... my Hope whose body hung on a tree- I have assurance that this life will one day be nothing more than a memory. I have hope that one day every tear will be wiped away, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. I am convinced that whatever loss we suffer here we'll someday see with perspective and understanding. I believe we'll be the first to admit these days were "light, momentary afflictions". (Can  you imagine? A day when your heart will be so full- and so joyful- that you'll say that without reserve?)

This year, I dragged in the biggest Christmas tree I could find. And I'm decorating it with all the stars I had and can make. Not because I feel merry and holly and jolly this Christmas. I don't. Not amid all the suffering and fear and loss. I did it because this year, because of Calvary's tree, I have hope. I did it because, just as it did 2,000 years ago, a "star" unthinkably appeared in the skies again, declaring that a King is alive and Hope is on its way.

In light of all this- the afflictions... the star... the Hope that this season declares, I'm doing something new this Christmas. I'm wrapping a box of "Christmas cares"- concerns and prayers and griefs and hopes- and putting I'm it at the foot of the tree. The Bible invites us to cast our cares on God, after all, so I'm wrapping them up for Him. And all season long, I'm going to let my cares sit there, at the foot of the tree, underneath the light and the stars, and I'm going to rest in the knowledge that we, too, are secure in the same place- between the cross of Jesus and His glorious coming. Between the gift of His love and the joy of His presence. Between the darkness of death and the light of life.

Wrap your cares, too, if you want. Wrap up a memory. A picture. A letter. A list. Put your concerns or prayers or grief or hopes in a box and wrap them up for Him. And then put it under your tree if you have one... or near a candle if you don't. Take a picture, if you want, of your Christmas cares, and comment here. Or post it online and hashtag it #Christmascares. Together, our silent cares might encourage each other and tell of our assurance in Christ, our reason for celebrating in such a time as this, and our hope that He's coming again to make everything right. Together we can celebrate Christmas this year with tears in our eyes, longing in our souls, and hope in our hearts.

I wish you a Hopeful Christmas this year. -Brin

15 comments:

MJ said...

Amen!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Beautiful and oh so true!! I can hardly wait for His return. It will only be when the last repentant heart comes to him though. Until then let us wait with much hope and spread the light of His love to all those around us. The world needs Jesus.

FlowerLady

Jan said...

Oh Brin, that brought tears.... many tears. My heart. I will wrap a heart and a star and a picture and put it under the tree. My Savior was born, died, and lives again to heal broken hearts. My love is with Him now, healed and restored. I will place him at the foot of the tree and choose joy for this season. I love you dearly, Brin. I love your heart.

Brin said...

Jan- You were the top face in my mind when I wrote this. You can't know the prayers I've prayed for you. Love you muchly. -B

Lulu said...

never, ever lose hope...there is always something to smile about..
God gives me strength in the midst of the darkness..
have a great weekend dear Brin..
God bless,

Sherry said...

this will mark our 4th Christmas without our daughter..
as such, your post touches deep the hidden pockets of my
heart - and reminds me yet again of where my hope remains.
in Christ. in Christ alone. nothing on this earth is eternal
save for the saints who put their trust in a Holy Lord..
that's where my devotion, hope, and vision is focused.
thank you.

Sherry said...

back to say . .

our Christmas style has been significantly altered to reflect our present reality. much more focus on the real meaning for the season, less so on the commercial aspects. that said, our largest tree is 12 inches. most are 8 inches and less. i have Christmas prettiness dotted here and there but for us - this is what we prefer for this season of our lives.

Kay Thomas said...

AMEN! Christ keeps His promises...He will come for us. He's the light of the world after all....the brightest light. Say Merry Christmas wherever you go. There are many others out there waiting to respond if the door is opened.

Adrienne said...

Oh, dear Brin - Your words were just what I needed today. Tears are on the edge of my eyes and heart every day. Grief is ever present as I watch my dear, little mother deal with the ravages of dementia. It's a loss that's been termed 'the long goodbye'. And, then, I read your words and SO needed the reminder that HE is our Hope. Christmas is different this year, for sure. We are keeping it much more simple. Perhaps the way it should have been all the time. Thank you for putting to words that it's OK for tears to fall at Christmas time. I will lay my burdens at the foot of the cross. Again. And make a place in my home for my cares and concerns to be placed there, too.
~Adrienne~

Betty said...

A beautiful post Brin and so many things to ponder. He is hope!

meme said...

thank you for the hope in your words I needed them and I prayed and GOD sent me to your page.this christmas I will not have my loving husband of 49 years he died very unexpected and I have to remind myself all the time GOD is in control and he will help me through if I will let him,like finding your post! it has comforted me.

meme said...

thank you for the hope in your words I needed them and I prayed and GOD sent me to your page.this christmas I will not have my loving husband of 49 years he died very unexpected and I have to remind myself all the time GOD is in control and he will help me through if I will let him,like finding your post! it has comforted me.

Jill D. said...

Thank you, Brin, for that wonderful post. Today in church the 3rd of 4 advent calendars was lit, and our pastor reminded us that the first candle is called HOPE, the second is PEACE, and the third is JOY. His message was very similar to yours, and both were just what I needed to hear. For all who need to hear an uplifting song, please take a listen to Eva Cassidy singing My Life Goes On in Endless Song (How Can I Keep From Singing?) on youtube. An incredible voice stilled when she passed away from cancer in her early 30's. And yet...HOPE.

Brin, you are a blessing. I too will lay my burdens at the foot of the tree, and ponder the Life given in such great hope, taken in such despair, and returned to us in unending joy.

Rebecca said...

Thank you. Thank you.

jules said...

Brin, Thank you. My mom died in November and although we lived 1000 miles apart, I feel her absence. Thank you for the reminder that God is our Hope and He is always with us.