So this is Christmas

love came down at Christmas (poem by Christina Rossetti)

via pinterest

What is your one hope for Christmas this year?

I initially wrote ‘wish’, but that’s not right, is it?  Wishes are floaty, intangible, wispy fantasies, but hope?

Hope is real.

Hope came in the form of a tiny, squirmy, helpless babe, born in the most unassuming way under the most extraordinary of circumstances.

In that stinky, scratchy manager, hope became something that was no longer just a concept, just a wish, it became something that we can drink deep of, wrap our fingers in and around and grab hold of so tightly that it becomes ingrained on the palms of our hands.  And the crevices and caverns of our hearts.

I’ve struggled this Christmas season, with the weight of expectation and busy-ness of life happening around me.  I’m bone-tired and soul-weary after a challenging year, and to be completely honest, Christmas is the last thing I feel like doing right now.  I would love nothing more than to stay right where I am here on my couch for the next 2 weeks until I have to go back to work, to minimise contact with the outside world and just restore and recharge, ready for 2014.

But this life of mine?  It’s not just about me.  And the reality is, it’s not really mine to live just as I please.

That tiny babe, who was the greatest gift the world has ever known, came down here to this imperfect, beautiful world so that I can really live.  To do anything less than to live this life of mine with intent and purpose would be to throw the gift of that babe in the face of the One who sent Him down to us.

My one hope for this season?  For today, and tomorrow and next week and next year and the rest of my life?  To know peace.  Not so much the peace of the early morning I love, the quiet before the world stirs, but the peace that comes regardless of what’s happening around me.  The peace of my soul being settled and grounded in the knowledge that Christ is bigger than anything in my life, and that whatever I’m dealing with at any point in time isn’t ever enough to overwhelm His presence.

Call me a slow learner, but I’m only just now starting to learn that peace is where Christ is, not where I think it should be.  Peace is found in the moments where I feel like my life is imploding as much as the moments where all seems right with the world.  I am learning where the words penned by Horatio Spafford came from when he wrote ‘It is well with my soul’.  My life circumstances are nowhere near as dire as Spafford’s, and I have an abundance of beauty and joy around me every day.  I just forget to look for it far too often, and let myself be distracted by all the things that clamour for my attention.

It is well with my soul ... One of my fave hymns

via pinterest

So this is the gift I’m finding this Christmas, that despite how I feel, the peace I so desperately crave is already here.  I don’t need to go looking for it,  I just need to rest and breathe hope deep into my soul.

I’ll leave you with Spafford’s heartachingly beautiful words of hope and peace.  May you find peace and grace and joy in this season, and the abundance of the gift of Christ’s love.

 

Hello. Again.

Hello.

My name’s Alison.  Just in case you forgot, because it’s been a while.

So, this whole blogging thing.  I’ve been doing it off and on for the last 9 years, and it’s always been something that I’ve fit in to my life whenever I can, and hasn’t really been a priority.

And that just hasn’t worked, not the way I feel like it should.  I don’t mean should as in I’m-putting-more-pressure/expectations/attempts-to-live-up-to-something on my self.  I mean should as in there is a constant hum in my soul to write and to share, to encourage and come alongside whomever reads my words, and I can’t do that if I don’t actually write.

I am so encouraged every day by the words I read and the voices I hear of bloggers and people around me, people living life alongside me in this crazy beautiful world – whether in my everyday life or across the other side of the world, and I’m so grateful for the time and effort they spend to share their hearts and lives, just so I might make that connection and take something away that lifts me up.

That’s why I keep coming back to this blogging gig – the knowledge and conviction that we all have a story to share, the story of our lives, and we never know how that might impact someone else.  I keep coming back to it for you, the person reading these words now, whether you’re someone so very dear to me in my life, or someone who’s just happened by here goodness-knows-how.

It’s not that I have the answers, I certainly don’t know the meaning of life, I’m no expert in anything, and I mess up Every. Single. Day.  Repeatedly.  But that’s the beauty of sharing life.  If I can make someone smile at the comedy of errors that is my life, or share an experience that brings a ‘Me too!!’, or speak a word that someone needs to hear right then and there, then I know I’m living my purpose in life.  Those connections made are worth the battle against the doubt and fear I feel every time I sit down to write.

So thank-you for being here right now, for spending your precious time on reading these words of my heart.

You already mean the world to me.