Advent: Space


In case my previous posts weren’t obvious enough, this has been a challenging Christmas for me.  It is in no way the worst Christmas ever (see last Friday’s post for details on that one), but this year has been a heavier, more somber holiday season.  As I’ve shared my heart these last couple of weeks, I see that many out there are in a similar place.  It can be intimidating to share openly about feeling sadness in a season that is all about being merry and bright.  I half expected an angry mob of folks in Christmas sweaters (and not the intentionally ugly kind) to come hunting me down to shut down my Scrooge-like sentiments.  Yet, instead, I’ve had person after person share about how they’ve resonated with these Advent posts about waiting and darkness.

Clearly I’ve hit a nerve (in the best sense).

As much as we try to gather up all the last remnants of joy and cheer, many of us are entering this Christmas season with heavy burdens of grief, disappointment, and confusion.  For some these experiences may be for this year only, but for others, deep losses make Christmas a consistently challenging time of year.  Is there space for these feeling during Christmas?

I’ve been surprised by the peace I feel being in a somber place this holiday.  Leaning into Advent has brought about an unexpected gift: space for my questions, my sadness, and my longings.  I don’t have to set these feelings aside to be present.  Instead, each one is welcome at the table (Matthew 11:28-30).  Which also means that I don’t have to spend every moment wallowing in misery this season.  Because there are times when you turn on the TV and “Elf” has just started.  It’s a Christmas miracle!  These moments of delight are welcome too.

And yet, watching “Elf” on repeat will not erase my pain.

So, I enter Christmas truthfully, comforted by the fact that the Lord holds these tensions in my hearts, and that I am not alone.  We are not alone.  The more we share honestly about our Christmas tensions, the more we see how many are feeling similarly.  I have felt known as I hear other share truthfully about their experiences.  It’s that moment of relief, when you exhale and say, “Oh, I’m not the only one who feels this way…Maybe I’m not crazy/mean/apathetic.”

And then the sadness isn’t quite as lonely of a place.

Reflection Questions

-What are you feeling this Christmas?  Sad?  Angry? Joyful? Disappointed? Hopeful? All of the above? Take a moment to share this honestly with Jesus.  How does he receive your feelings?

-Is there a person in your life whom you could share these feelings with?  Who might be a safe person for you?

-Amidst the varying emotions you have this year, is there a deeper longing in your heart?  What is your heart hoping (or struggling to hope) for this Christmas? Take a moment to let God know about the deep longings within.


Previous Advent posts can be found here and here.

One thought on “Advent: Space

  1. Thanks for sharing! I enter this advent with a heavy burden of sadness, anger, disappointment, confusion, and there is a deeper longing of something real that I can cling on.
    I am sad that in this day and age, we still live in darkness (Ephesian 6:12) and although we knew God, our foolish hearts are darkened.
    I am sad that in this days, there are people who believe in animal sacrifice to emulate Jesus love.
    I am sad to see first-hand that Christian is willing to compromised himself in order to show God’s love and for the building of his kingdom. Is this from God?
    Would a loving God wants us to compromise our health and safety, in order to fulfil John 15:13?
    Jesus loves us and gave His life for us, do we have to die or risk early death for another sinner? Is this what it meant to live out John 15:13?
    I am disappointed at the Christian belief and/or teaching that led to this type of sacrifice. I am disappointed to see my Christian family cheering the heroic act of sacrifice. Although, it is not from my church, it is from my community and as a spiritual family member, I am disappointed and somewhat angry.
    Do we need more volunteers in this martyrdom for us to wake up?
    Do we, as spiritual family needs to speak into each other life with honesty and truth?
    Are Christian vulnerable to all kinds of extreme teaching about God’s love?
    I shouldn’t comment as I do not know the details but the little that I do know, saddened me. Does Jesus want us to be “brain washed”, to emulate his laying down of his life for us literally?
    This season there is greater searching for the real God, a deeper longing to know the truth and to separate what is of God and what is not of God. And to fully surrender to Him, knowing that I can’t influence another person in their way of life or love for God. Trusting that Jesus who knows it all, will provide clarity as the days/years move on. It sad that this type of sacrifice has move me way from God but I know deep down that I am to look up at Jesus; and not to people action or non -action. It’s a sad Christmas for me this year.

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