Eight days before Christmas, I finally got my tree up and decorated. I used to be one of those day-after-Thanksgiving folks, stringing lights and hauling out the stockings and tinsel. But not this year.
This year is hard for a number of reasons. My daddy isn’t here, and he always made Christmas special. It just won’t be the same without him sitting in his chair, acting like a bottle of Stetson cologne was the one gift he had hoped for every single day since last Christmas. It just won’t be the same.
Lots of things are going on this year, things that make Christmas a little less jolly than previous years. While others are ho-ho-ho-ing, honestly, all I want to do is boo-hoo-hoo. I don’t even want to eat chocolate. And believe me, when this girl passes on the chocolate, you know things are bad.
Now, before you walk away at this depressing opening to my article – and yes, I’m well aware of the pity party going on in the previous paragraphs – hold on a minute. Because in spite of my less than stellar mood this holiday season, I think I may have discovered something even better than holiday cheer. It’s found right in that little word – holiday – derived from “holy” day. Holy means “set apart, or reserved for special use.”
You see, the beauty of this season is even greater than the fact that a holy God sent His holy Son as a gift to us, although you have to admit that’s pretty incredible. But even greater than that is the reason for that gift: love. He loved us. And He knew we could never reach Him, even if we stood on our tiptoes and reached up our arms with all our might. He knew we could never make the journey to Him, so He came to us.
Even greater still is that He offered His biological Son to pay for my adoption fee. Yes, that’s right. He made me His daughter, and He paid a great price for me. And because I’m His daughter, I am now holy.
Yep. The most beautiful thing about Christmas to me, is that Christmas tells the story of how God made me His own. He set me aside and said, “That one is mine.” He made me holy.
Oh, I’m not holy because of anything I’ve done. I’m not holy because I’m good or righteous or godly. Most days, I am far from any of those things. I am holy – set apart – because He loved me enough to set me apart for Himself. He paid the price, He adopted me, and now I belong to Him.
So this holy-day season, in spite of the fact that things aren’t exactly as I’d like them to be, I can rest in the fact that I have found favor with the Almighty God. I can walk boldly in to His presence because I have that right, as His daughter. And no matter what’s going on in my life or in this world, I can know He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. I belong to Him; He calls me by name, and He will always, always take care of me.
It’s because of that love that I want to be good and righteous and godly. It’s because of Him, not because of me, that I want to be holy. I want to please Him.
This season, though my heart is sad, I still have reason to celebrate. I may not have the jolly, bubbly happiness that is so prevalent in Hallmark Channel movies, but I have joy. I have eternal security in knowing I am His, and He is mine, and that will never change. And because I belong to Him, because He loves me, I know He has some pretty great things waiting in the future – He promised me that. So on Christmas Day, despite the fact that things aren’t exactly as I want them to be, I’ll sing carols. I’ll enjoy my family. And I’ll rejoice in the knowledge that the holy God of the universe took an interest in me.
“You are to be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine,” Leviticus 20:26.
This post touched me because this is my first Christmas as a widow. Just think–your daddy and my husband are celebrating Jesus’ birthday in His presence! I was blessed to have a dream a few weeks after Jack died in which I just saw him standing looking at me with the biggest smile you have ever seen. He looked young, healthy, and oh-so-joyous! How can I be sad when he’s so happy?
I feel your pain. I lost my dad eight years ago.
Today, I have some rejoicing to do because my husband came home from the hospital after a two-week stay. Oxygen at home was a possibility, but thank goodness it wasn’t ordered. This has been a hard two weeks and all isn’t “normal” yet, but oh so much better. I praise God for each moment we have.
Merry Christmas. I hope you’ll find moments during Christmas Day to refelct on precious moments you’ll always treasure.
Thanks for your honesty. Holidays–especially Christmas–are hard with loved ones missing. You’re in my prayers, friend.
Lillie, What a beautiful gift that dream was! I’m so happy you were able to see Jack, healthy and happy and full of life. I’m praying for you as you find healing and peace in the coming days.
Linda, Thank you so much for sharing. I pray your husband is still doing well. Keep me posted and I’ll keep praying.
Jim, Thanks so much for your friendship and your prayers. They mean more than I know how to say.