The Christmas Letter I’d like to write
At this time of year many people write a recount of the year that has been. They assemble great photos to illustrate their ventures, and list the things they and their family have achieved at work, at school, at home, at church, the house renovations and holidays.
While it is great to reflect on and share all these blessings in thankfulness to the God who grants them, I can’t help thinking the rosy Christmas letter can be somewhat discouraging to others, to people who consider their own personal achievements as nothing but disappointing by comparison. Perhaps their circumstances and God’s plans have taken them down a more difficult and lonely path. (And if I am being honest, such loneliness occurs even in the midst of a busy household at times.)
So, if I were to write an honest Christmas letter about the struggles of the year, here are some of the things I would like to share, in order to help others know they are not alone. Life is hard and being a Christian doesn’t mean the end of difficulties…but God is good and there is joy to be found in Christ amidst the difficulties.
* I have faced ongoing challenges as a parent, a spouse, a home owner (with a costly surprise visit from a termite army!), a ministry worker, a friend. These challenges will continue in the New Year.
* I have fought the discouragement of seeing others pursuing fulfillment apart from Christ, and disappointment with myself for not knowing how/being willing to challenge others for such attitudes.
* I have fought to acknowledge the reality of God and his grace in my own thinking about the circumstances of day to day living.
* I have fought to love my children and husband, to serve selflessly, to fight the desire to live my ambitions through my children and be disappointed when they don’t measure up.
* I have fought disappointment with myself when I see pride or envy, or any of the things Christ died for, rising up in me again.
* I have sometimes been cold to others and showed little genuine concern for them.
* I have become more aware of my own sin and selfishness.
* I feel like I have aged more and had worse quality sleep this year than any to date (as though I have now arrived at the ‘days of trouble’ that the writer of Ecclesiastes speaks of).
* I have been hooked on certain foods, checking my phone notifications and comforts that I selfishly enjoy.
* I have battled against bad habits, staying up late, too much mindless television and being more excited about things that have no eternal value than I should be!
But all these things do not bring me to a point of despair! (Sorry if it sounds that way!) These struggles prove that Christ is at work in me and this is the main reason I can be joyful this Christmas!
As James says (1:2-4): “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The ‘World’ just doesn’t get this. They think we have bought into a big fat lie which only brings us guilt and hard work.
But we have met the risen Saviour, we have seen the glory of God in the face of Christ, God with us, Immanuel!
So what else could we do but follow him?
Blessings to you this Christmas,
from Ros at Seven Notes of Grace
(Thanks for the opportunity to share here at Christian Gazette this year! Thanks for reading!)