Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas from our family to yours! We have been busy, busy, busy- decking the halls and fa-la-la-la-la-ing. We Christmas so hard around here that we are allowed to use it as a verb. Yes, we love Christmasing. This season has been full of moments where I have laughed so hard I’ve cried- but I’ve also had moments when I cried so hard I had to just laugh. I have learned (and am still learning) that deep, deep joy can coexist with grief or sadness. I am grateful for that hard lesson.

Friends, whether your days have been merry & bright or you’ve been white knuckling it through the entire season (for me, if I’m being honest, it’s been a little of both), I pray that you know that you have value. That you are loved. That there is always, always a reason for hope. Hope in the baby in a manger who caused angels to sing. Hope in the teacher who shared radical truths about loving others as yourself and about how absolutely nothing could ever separate you from His love. And, if all of that fails to bring you solace because of whatever 2016 brought you, I pray you will hope in a man laying down his life so that death, in turn, would lose it’s sting. Hope in the promise of heaven. A promise that one day, no matter how hard things are now, He will wipe every tear from our eyes.

This Christmas, I just want you to know that it’s okay if that’s where you’re at. If that’s the only peace you can find. If the songs and the gifts and the twinkling lights just aren’t doing it for you. If everyone else’s holiday cheer is only serving to make you feel isolated because of your pain. If this Christmas finds you angry. Or sad. Or broken. There is grace for you, friends. If this Christmas finds you feeling a little like a misfit, be encouraged. It is my suspicion that God has a special place in his heart for the misfit. My guess is, it was no accident that Jesus was welcomed into the world so humbly, surrounded by stinky animals and socially awkward shepherds. God was telling us something so very important. The kingdom of heaven is so beautifully upside down, the last being first, the ones once sowing in tears reaping in joy. All are welcome. You are welcome. So there is hope. I pray you will know that hope this Christmas. I pray that hope will carry you through to the next season of your life. Merry Christmas, friends.

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