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.
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.