Friday, December 27, 2019

Santa and Satan

Christmas is hard.  There, I said it.  I just want to take a moment to thank my mom for doing all that she did for all of these Christmases.  She cooked multiple-course meals, she planned countless events, she wrapped more presents than I can count, she smiled the sweetest smiles, she dressed my sister and me--she was the center of joy.  Thanks, Mom.  I can't imagine how tired you were--and are.  Dang.  I love you more--if that's even possible.

Christmas is hard.  As I was telling my therapist a few weeks ago, I felt pressure to feel joy.  The lights, the music, the Santas, the bell ringing, the Christmas cards of perfectly dressed families, the shopping--everything around me was saying..."Be happy!  It's Christmas!  Merry Christmas, Darling!  Ho, Ho Ho!".  But, honestly, my heart is heavy.

As much as I want to believe that God is at work (and He is), Satan's power is real.  He wriggles in between the tiny moments of joy with toddler tantrums, last-minute holiday cancellations, money anxieties, and unexpected illness. He slips in underneath each moment of joy with a question.."Is this enough..Do you love this/him/her enough?  Do you really need this?  What does tomorrow hold?  How will/can you handle that?" 

Moreover, Satan takes things that can be good and transforms them into inexplicable evil:  money, addiction, truthfulness, violence, medicine--and so much more.  

Just last Friday (the Friday before Christmas), God sent me a gift.  He sent me a friend (and her children).  They filled my heart with joy and reminded me that love transcends all.  Yes, Satan is real. He tempts us.  He teases us.  He worries us.  But, God is love.  God is truth.  God is full.  God is enough.  

As much as I want to say Christmas was perfect, it wasn't.

I raised my voice more than I wanted with my children.  I sprained my other ankle (yes, the other ankle after I sprained one at Thanksgiving).  I worried more than I should.  I feared for my family and my friends. I didn't feel joy all day on Christmas Day.  Sometimes I felt a little bit of resentment.  Let's just say it aloud.

But, our Lord God redeems this world.  And this world is a broken place where addiction and lies reign, and sickness and death are a conclusion.  But, they are merely a conclusion to THIS life.  God's redeemed world is on the other side--just waiting for us.  I, for one, know that I will see all of my dogs when I get there and eat my BigMama's coconut cake for breakfast.  I will tell God I wish I had done better and He will cover me with grace like a giant, warm sherpa blanket.

Let us rest in grace today.  God's not Santa.  Everything on this side of Heaven is not given to us.  Many things are taken away--often too soon.  But in Heaven, all is redeemed.  And all will be well.

Some photos to make you smile.  

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