Sunday, December 16, 2012

Where is Christmas

I've spent the afternoon wrapping gifts. Gifts for my daughters to go under the tree. Every little Christmas related task makes me think about families grieving something precious that's been lost.  I know there has never been a shortage of suffering the world over, but the universe felt especially dark this weekend.

"...He said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  John 8:12

We stayed in Friday night and watched our favorite holiday flick, White Christmas.  I'd been watching news off and on all afternoon, but I know my limits and I was done. Saturday hubs accompanied me to the grocery store.  We decided we didn't want to sit around the house, but couldn't really face the mall for that last bit of shopping either. Instead we unloaded groceries and went for a walk in the woods.  The air was crisp and the sun was shining.  Still our hearts were heavy.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 

I'm a mother. I taught kindergarten. I have a daughter who is a brand new teacher. My heart aches and I struggle to understand a world gone mad.  We seem to have lost our moral compass and what's sadder is we don't seem to be looking to get it back.  

"Peace I leave with you;  My peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to  you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let them be afraid."  John 14:27

I'm not going to comment on the gun debate, except to say I'm much more interested in seeing the issues surrounding mental health addressed. While we're at it, let's also talk about the influence of media, non-stop gaming, and the incredible violence in entertainment 'programming' that our tweens and adolescents are engaged in and exposed to in mega doses. We cannot possibly be so naive as a nation to think what goes in to an impressionable (and sometimes disturbed) young person's head is not going to come out in anti social ways at some point. We're living in a culture where people, particularly young people, seek fame instead of meaning.  Something is very wrong and it goes far beyond access to weapons.

"...In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

I have a lot of words and feelings churning around in my head and heart today.  I thought about what I wanted to say on my blog...what do I want to remember about this year 2012, a year that has been filled with almost unbearable heartbreak for our family personally, but also for our nation and the world.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

I grew up in a church called Emmanuel.  We hear that name for Jesus used especially at this time of year-it means God with us.  

And He is.  

In the depths of our despair, in the tiredness of life, in our anger and confusion and in our every sadness He is there.  

And where He is grace abounds...for me that's Christmas.   
Grace for the extremely flawed and oh so fragile human race. 


  1. I can't understand how our world has gotten so evil I have cried many tears this weekend. As a society, we have not let children play games but have put them in front of violent video games. Friday my 8th graders had never played with Legos-a lesson on building three-dimensional objects but every student plays video games.

  2. What a beautiful entry Joyce. I have such a heavy, heavy heart this evening for personal issues and the state of affairs of our dear nation. The scripture you shared was so encouraging. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I wrote something similar today. God is our only hope. We can change laws and do the best we can in the flesh to stem the violence, but until the human heart is turned to God, life here will not change.

  4. Amen. Beautifully written, and well said. I hope you don't mind but I think I will share this on FB with my friends.

  5. Very wise thoughts for this very difficult time.

  6. So well said! I agree 100%. Even though I am not from the US I feel with those parents, who have lost there loved one and hope that God will restore their hearts.
    Wishing you a blessed Christmas Joyce!!

  7. Beautifully written. Your post was heart touching and so very true! Thank you for stepping out there and sharing your thoughts.

  8. I can't really think of much tragic I cannot even imagine...pray pray pray...

  9. As always, you have a gift when it comes to writing from the heart. God bless all hearts who have experienced the loss of someone they love, especially the families of of this terrible tragedy in CT.

  10. John 16:33. John 16:33. John 16:33. Thank you.

  11. Very well written.

  12. Nicely written! I couldn't agree more about getting into the gun control debate. Politics are too confusing. :( Anyway, the thing that really got to me and my mom was when they showed the pictures of the young victims. We hugged each other tightly for a long time. My nephew is their age. Just a horrible day..

  13. Excellent post Joyce. I agree with you on so much you have said. My heart was so broken when I heard the news. I am glad that my children were not exposed to such violent games growing up. Too many young children are playing them today. My husband belongs to a gun club and loves his target shooting as much as I love my bowling league. I haven't watched White Christmas yet this year but I plan to very soon.