I decided to do something amazing this year and take a week off. I’ll sign off here for the week (sorry in advance that there won’t be a Five Fact Friday!), but before I do, I’ll share a few thoughts on the season, adapted from a talk I gave in church last week.
The holidays can be a really difficult time of year for a lot of us. My Facebook feed is loaded with some really difficult, life-altering things people are going through:
- Job loss for the second time in a year.
- Single moms with no one by their side to help them.
- Loneliness–spending the holiday single, newly divorced, or alone
- Another miscarriage after many months of unsuccessfully trying (again) to get pregnant.
- Mothers and Fathers with cancer diagnoses and poor prognoses.
- Children airlifted to Seattle for their third recurrence of a brain tumor.
- And even a friend whose sweet, beautiful little boy passed away.
On top of that, I’ve been reading stories of refugees and war victims and my heart feels just so full and heavy with the things in my own life and in the lives of those I care about that it feels difficult to carry.
My mom once told me that I have an over-developed sense of injustice, and I’ll say that it’s definitely buzzing lately. I feel so powerless to help or relieve suffering and it sometimes feels like my feeble efforts are sort of like throwing confetti at a fire. It’s shiny for a quick second as it catches the light, then it’s consumed with the sheer force of the grief or hardship it’s trying to alleviate.
I wish I could sit across from each of you and hear what’s going on at home and in your heart. I wish I could heal the ache you feel, or relieve the deep suffering I know so many of you are feeling. I wish I had the power to change what you and I are facing.
Part of what gives me comfort in these kinds of times is faith. Sometimes, faith seems impossible or it seems like it doesn’t make sense. My faith at 29 looks different than it did at 9 or 19. I imagine by 39, 49, and 99 it will look different, still. But it’s there, and it helps me to believe that all that is unfair about life can be made right, even if it’s not while I live. My job and my journey is to find peace and to share peace.
I believe in a mission of love.
Love heals relationships. It unites families, communities, and nations. It encourages compassion, civility, respect, kindness, and tolerance. It fills us with joy, peace, and hope. Sometimes that starts in our homes, our marriages, our friendships. Sometimes, it’s for church friends, neighbors, co-workers, or complete strangers. But around each of us are people in need of the gifts of love we have to share.
Love is so much more than something shiny we throw at problems. Real, true love, even in the form of sharing meals, dollars, time, or effort is a power so much stronger than those who give it. It’s the miracle inside each of us, uniting us, carrying us through, and filling us up even when we’re way past empty.
As we look around us, especially this Christmas and holiday season, we can lift up the people around us, by offering our presence, our love, and our best efforts as the gold, frankincense, and myrrh we have to give of ourselves to our Savior. He was the perfect example of love and charity. His message was, is, and always will be one of love. He saw people who had been discarded, mistreated, forgotten, or fallen and responded with pure love. His heart exposed, His arms open, His hands stretched outward, He invites us to follow Him and He leads out by sharing a message of love.
I don’t know what you are facing in your home this season. I don’t know if you’re alone, afraid, angry, brokenhearted, sick, anxious, or exhausted. I know the ways I’ve felt those feelings in my home in the past year, and I guess I just want to wish you peace this week. Love for ourselves and those around us is the surest way to find that peace. Love is the journey.
Wishing you peace, comfort, and love this season and always.