Christmas joy, now and always

Christmas joy, now and always

I see my baby wrapped in a flannel blanket, fresh from her bath. Little sparkly trees sit on our mantel. A new puppy fights the wreath I try to put around his neck for a picture. Shawn puts on a festive bow tie and a green vest for a short work day. Tonight we’ll put baby in her red Christmas dress and white tights, and head to the Christmas Eve service at church. We’ll sing about how a weary world rejoices, and joy will fill the room, just as it has our home over the past few months.

We didn’t send out a Christmas letter this year, just a few cards with a picture of us as a family of three. But if we had, I don’t know what I would have said other than, life has never been better. And that feels so cheesy, so “look at us in our beautiful home, with a baby and a puppy, sitting on a blanket in the yard” brag-fest-y.

This scene is new to us. Christmases past have been us sitting on white plastic chairs, wearing a santa hat, hoping the power will come back on and charge our laptop so we can watch a Christmas dvd, while finishing a bowl of rice + mystery meat the neighbors brought by. Christmases past have been us giving each other gifts we could find at Casino grocery store in Dakar (hazelnut syrup for me, and imported sausage for him). Christmases past have been us waking up early to the Call to Prayer at the Mosque, and knowing that out on the streets it was just another day, not December 25th. Christmases past were us missing family and the familiar festivities of our home culture so much that I laid on our bed and cried into my pillow. Christmases past were us cringing as other couples our age welcomed their first, second, and third child into the family, adding another stocking, and more traditions with each passing year. In Christmases past we were barely scraping by, living on support, and praying for God to provide month by month.

But no matter where life finds us, we can say that God has been good to us. This Christmas is a special one. We have the baby we’ve prayed so long for. We have the home we’ve dreamed of. We have the yard, and the community of friends and neighbors too.

These things are so special to us, and we are incredibly grateful.

But I don’t ever want to get so lost in the white lights, the red nails, the sparkly trees on the mantel, and the festivities that I forget about the great joy of this season. That great joy is Jesus. He came to save a weary, dark, lost, helpless, and sad world. He’s our remedy. And for that, we rejoice. For that, we can rejoice. No matter where you find yourself this Christmas, whether life has never been better, or you don’t know how you’ll face tomorrow, I hope you’ll know that joy, peace, and hope are possible. I hope you’ll know that your weary soul can rejoice, because King Jesus was born for a world in need. He was born for you. He was born for us. He was born that we may have life.

Merry Christmas from us to you!

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