pj-chriasmtas.jpgThere are only 2 day’s till Christmas. I am excited, but there is still this sense and knowledge that something is missing. On the 26th our family is hopping in the mini van and heading to Winnipeg. It is hard going back home for the holidays as there is that tension of grieving that the family is not all together and rejoicing that we have what we have and not letting our circumstances get to us. I was talking to my sister today about going to Church on Christmas eve. My mom wants to go, but my sister doesn’t. I understand both of their feelings.

On one hand, we always went to church as a family on Christmas eve, sung cheesy carols, got excited and emotional and then went home to a warm house, ate food that would eventually kill us and anticipated Christmas morning. My mom wants this, she wants to do this as a family, and I don’t blame her. On the other hand, my sister doesn’t want to go to church and pretend that everything is OK and swell. I understand this also. I understand that there is this expectation, weather it is put on us or we put it on ourselves, that Christmas is about family getting together, being happy, being whole and everything being alright.

Here are my thoughts, now that I have told you my mom and sisters, without permission of course (sorry mom and sis). I think that we should not let our circumstances or expectations (ours or others) effect out response and actions. Yes, it is hard and would be hard to go to Church on Christmas Eve without dad, but on the other hand we don’t have to go and pretend that everything is OK. How refreshing would it be to go to Church on Christmas Eve just as you are. To go as a hurting person who has hope in a savior who has also lived a life of pain? I think that we so often and so instinctively go to Church with our fake smiles and lie to people about how things are. Then we go home alone, hurting and wondering why nobody cares about us. Oops, did I say that out loud?

I  believe that during this season we need to rejoice in the birth of Jesus in spite of our circumstances. There is a greater focus during Christmas than family, it is Christ. We need to die to our hurts (not forget about them or pretend their not there) and ask Jesus to fill us with His joy. This sounds as cheesy as the carols, but it is true and it is this Jesus and this hope that we put our faith in. Yes I am hurting this season, yes I am wishing things we different but I am going to look to little 8 pound baby Jesus this Christmas and not to the things that I wish were different.

Disclaimer- I don’t think that you need to go to church on Christmas Eve, I just think that we shouldn’t let our circumstances stop us from going. In that, there are other way’s that we could spend Christmas Eve that are just as meaningful and just as Jesus focused than going to a church service. Like hanging out with friends and family, enjoying a nice bottle of wine and thanking God for sending his only son Jesus into the world to save us from our sins. I encourage you to not let a corporate church service be your only time of thanks and praise, but find other way’s to connect with family and Jesus this year. Be creative.

I hope that you have a beautiful Christmas this year. That Jesus shows up in your life in new and wonderful way’s. I hope that you don’t let your circumstances take away the joy that He brings. This is my prayer this year for your family and mine. -Amen.

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4 comments so far on “my story part 8

  1. Angela says:

    Phil –

    Thanks so much for writing this. I can so identify with the going to church with fake smiles and then going home and wondering why no one seems to care. Keep writing!

    Merry Christmas!

  2. mike says:

    I hope that you have a wonderful holiday. I will not be spending the evening at Marshill rather I am going to sit and watch movies and look at picture of some of the people that have impacted me in my journey here to seattle.

    Miss you man

  3. Phil says:

    You rule Mike. I missed Mars Hill tonight actually.

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