December 23, 2018

I haven’t decorated one single Christmas cookie. I haven’t gone to look at Christmas lights or caroled with my kids or cuddled up on the couch for an annual viewing of The Elf. There will be lots of presents under my tree that won’t be opened until I don’t know when. My parents and siblings are a few states away. My other family is hunkered down around a hospital bed. It’s a different season this year- this has been the hardest year of my adult life. What started with a best friend’s cancer diagnosis and the burying of my last grandparent has ended with my husband holding tight to the precious moments he can with his daddy, my beloved Father in law. I have questioned and pleaded and begged God for answers. I have hit my knees more than I can count and changing His will to my own as been the most consuming of all my thoughts. Rough and tough. I’ve been in the weeds trying to pull this family up by it’s boot straps and I’m tired and overwhelmed. Yes, it’s a different kind of Christmas. What hasn’t changed though is how much I know Jesus loves me. How I’ve seen Him in my tears and my doubts. How I’ve felt Him in my messes and my mistakes. Despite the sadness, He hasn’t let me go. He has never left my side. And that is my ultimate gift. My Savior, born in a manger, my perfect Lord in my beautiful mess. Sent to rescue and redeem and hold. And for the first Christmas in my life- that’s been on my brain the most. Not the presents or the food or the memories or the expectations. Just Jesus. So I guess that’s my gift of 2018. His mercies are new every morning. His presence holy and wholly filling my life. Has there ever been a more fitting lesson? Merry Christmas, friends. May your Christmas be just as sweet.
The Girls of Charley’s 💗

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