I bought my first Christmas gift just two days ago, the day after my father’s funeral.
The tree and decorations are up, but the tree still isn’t decorated.
I haven’t baked one Christmas cookie or goodie, and it seems I’ve missed all the holiday parties and celebrations this year.
Our family has had two major losses in 2019, and the realization that both of my parents are now gone from this earth is so very strange and overwhelmingly sad—even at my age. How is it possible to feel so low…and so loved at the same time?
God with us.
The God-child born in a manger grew to be a man who loved us so much that He suffered and died, rose from the dead, and sent His Spirit to be with us as Comforter and Counselor. Not only with us, but actually within us. This is the gift of Christmas. God's love incarnate. God's love with us. It is a gift meant for each of us. And we don’t have to buy it, earn it, or deserve it. In fact, we can’t.
We simply receive it.
Receive. That is what I’m doing this Christmas. It doesn’t come naturally for me—this Enneagram 2 who likes to help and do for others. But receiving is essential. And receiving God’s love, which comes to us in so many ways, is a holy practice. I believe that’s what we’re meant to do first and foremost—not only at Christmas, but each day of the year.
They say it's better to give than to receive, but we cannot give what we haven't received. Sometimes we receive the idea of God's love without fully receiving the experience of His love. And it is the experience of God's love that heals and transforms us.
"They say it's better to give than to receive, but we cannot give what we haven't received."
So, that is what I’m focusing on this Christmas—actually experiencing and receiving God’s love in all the many ways He is showering it upon me. Those ways include acts of love and kindness from many of you who may be reading this—visits, calls, cards, meals, gifts, and acts of service—as well as random acts of kindness from complete strangers. And there are less tangible ways, such as memories, words and images of scripture, and all of the beauty I see around me. Yes, I am sad, but I am loved. And for that I am grateful.
If you feel sad and low this season, whether from loss or hurt or disappointment, I pray you will join me in focusing on receiving. Even without decorations, presents, or parties, Christmas will come. In just a few days we will celebrate the greatest gift of all, the gift of God’s love with us. My prayer is that whatever circumstances or emotions you might find yourself in right now, you will allow yourself to receive.
"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." (Matthew 1:23 KJV)
"God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,
who has been given to us." (Romans 5:5 KJV)
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Hi, I'm Sally!
I'm passionate about connecting with God and connecting with people, offering spiritual encouragement and companionship. I'm so grateful to be on the journey with you as we walk with God together.