This is Christmas

As a suffering and broken person, the holiday atmosphere invades without invitation.  Although the tree stays in the box and the house remains unlit, its presence feels inescapable.  The snow falls and sleigh bells ring, unintentionally digging deep into your soul.

Christmas is in the air and you have no choice but to breath it’s aroma with every breath you take.

The child lost, the mother gone, the husband who cheated, being cancer invaded – nothing shatters the heart more than being told to have some Christmas cheer.

There is no cheer. Only tears.

The hallmark channel plays and the laughter of family fills your room.  You stare at the television wondering how someone can accomplish such a perfect life.  The fireplace crackles and smiles fill the screen. A toast is given with sparkling champagne as they wish one other “Merry Christmas.”

Your eye notices the perfectly wrapped gifts shimmering under the tree. You gaze to the corner where your tree once was.  Or perhaps it is there… but barely.

If only you could give your kids such beautiful gifts and a breathtakingly glorious tree.  If only Santa could come.  Could he? Maybe, just maybe a Christmas miracle will appear… or maybe not.

Not this year.  Not ever.

Then suddenly you hear a whisper upon your heart – barely there.  You shove it aside and move on. A silent tear slips down your cheek, a cheek once filled with kisses never to be kissed again.

You close your eyes and picture the life no longer living – if so, only in your dreams.  You hate God. He is everything but love. He abandoned you, so you will abandon Him.

Your thoughts drift away to how things once were.  If only you could go back to the past.  You would do it differently.  Or you would say what you should have said… or you would say nothing at all. You would just smile and give grace.

Then out of nowhere, it speaks again.  That annoying whisper.  Like a gentleman, he speaks truth into your heart.  In gentle love, not force.  You hear the words:

Christmas is not as it appears.

 Suddenly you see the ragged, brutal cross in front of you.  The bloody, beaten and bruised image of his body barely hanging on, stakes nailed through his wrists.  The sword pierced into his side. Fluid and blood gush out, spraying upon the horrified people standing below.

There is no sparkling cider or mistletoe in this moment – only death and suffocating darkness. Time stops and you hold your breath. You suddenly realize that you are staring at Easter.

He whispers again. This is Christmas, my dear one.

The depth of your deception rises to the surface as truth floods into your heart. Every vacant room fills with a fresh perspective. The tears begin to flow and you fall to the ground.  It is then you realize the depth of His love. For you were wrong.

Christmas is not as it appears.

Peace and joy fill your heart as you begin to understand that Christmas is not about family and friends, sugar and spice and everything nice.  You feel yourself starting to believe again. You now understand that Christmas came for you, the sick. Not the healthy. He came to be your Savior, to save you from this hell. He came to give you Easter.

As you stare at Easter you realize the opportunity ahead of you. An opportunity to have eternal life where there are no tears. Ever. You envision heaven and you feel for the first time things like peace, hope and Christmas cheer… and you believe!

You raise your glass to a sparking toast and although the pain remains and you still grieve, you at least have found enough strength to say, “Merry Christmas everyone!”

You have found your Christmas miracle.  Let the tears flow, my dear one. You have not been forgotten.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 ~ Romans 15:13

Danielle Dykstra

Born and raised in Nebraska, Danielle graduated from Northwestern College with a passion for ministry. It is there she met her husband of 14 years. Together they have three beautiful children and reside in Brandon, SD. She is a stay-at-home mom, a tumble coach and a coffee lover. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her family outdoors, biking and camping. After living through their own battles, Danielle and her husband share a passion to help others in the areas of marriage and addiction simply by sharing their story of God’s saving grace.

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