AVery Real Christmas..............

This week my childhood friend Erin blogged on the pain that comes so often with Christmas.  She challenged us to be real in our suffering and to let the authentic emotion we feel show to others rather than the Hallmark brightness that the social season dictates.

She challenged us to have a 'real' Christmas.
Which made me stop and check my heart.
Because I hate the Hallmark holiday standard.

The one where joy and happiness is defined by what you get, how people treat you and how beautiful the decorations are.

Hate it..... like I'd rather throw up
I'd rather have every one of my 11 kids start throwing up
        and both my cats pee on the living room carpet
                and all of the filings in my teeth replaced....
rather than pretend that Hallmark sets my standard
                for remembering and honoring the birth of Christ.

I'm with Erin - I want to be 100% real - because God knows the details of my life and His heart is broken over the scattered pieces that are slowly coming together in this mess of a season.  I know there is a plan and a purpose in every step of my journey - and I trust that we can celebrate way better than any Hallmark ideal.  For me that means being  honest about the things that hurt- because this is what Christmas is really all about - and why we needed Jesus to come in the first place.

I have to admit - this year the holidays could have been unbearably painful-  gut wrenchingly wrong on so many human levels - if my standard was limited by Hallmark - because some things just are not looking very pretty.

I could have fantasized  it all away
or denied that it was actually that bad.

I could have smiled and been strong in polite silence
trusting other people to leave me alone.

Or  I could choose to be real.

Because its a mess
Big time.
Really...really.....really messy.

But it's also an amazing time of overflowing....overwhelming...unending blessing and contentment.

Which is actually stronger than the sadness.
Bigger than the each pounding wave of reality
Truer than every broken dream and aborted hope.

The reality is that our household holidays were not focused on presents and creating the picture perfect memories for the scrap book.  No - the physical mess in my home this week was created by a mountain of  salvaged food that we loved out to 20 families - and by the total disorder left in the wake of our Christmas Eve Emergency Responder dinner at the precinct.

It was the broken pattern caused by a constant stream of people that we got to love on and share with - each of us being honest and real in the hard places where we walk.

"Thanks for the food...ours was almost gone."
"Thanks for the hug...I was feeling scared, lost and alone."
"Thanks for the reminder ...God is in the hard things, the ugly things, the bitter things."
"I'm glad I'm here."
"I'm not happy...it hurts."

God is God.  He calls us to do out outrageous things in His name and to do them with all our hearts.  With tears, grief, joy, praise and everything in between.  He plans more for our holidays than the simple Hallmark standard - he plans to unleash the Truth and let us live it as water to a dry and weary land- when we can be content whatever our situation.

I am thankful that I did not have a Merry Christmas - instead we shared a Very Real Christmas with a whole lot of very real people. 


Blessed said…
Thanks for this, Dorothy. Even though I am reading it a little late, since I was not reading blogs while we were visiting extended family, it helps me process some of the feelings of anger and disappointment I am feeling now. This Christmas it was so hard to focus on Jesus, on the reason for it all. Family dysfunction really hindered me--I was not expecting perfection, but at least not a continual, purposeful negativity. After all, the other family members call themselves believers too. But I guess their pain was just too overwhelming them, so they ended up focusing on all the other baggage instead of Christ. So please continue to share whatever wisdom you find, Dorothy, so I can learn how to keep the focus on Him even in the middle of the mess.

This article I did read Christmas eve, and it was a blessing: http://momastery.com/blog/2014/12/23/d-day/

So, thank you, and belated Merry Christmas! May God continue to pour out His blessings upon you in this new year!
erin said…
Oh I love this. Thanks for letting me take part. I am praying for you still.