I was doing so well and then crash…that Christmas bobble filled with joy hit the floor and busted into a thousand smithereens. I feel no more qualified to write a blog on Advent joy than the Grinch. Unless … as the Spirit of God nudges, I choose to be open and authentic.
These last few days I have struggled. According to Covid regulations in our province we are not allowed to have anyone in our home for Christmas. The one loophole was that a single person could have a grouping of two and our son was going to join my husband and me. Then he phoned to say he had to work, and my joy melted like a snowman at the equator. One by one a large family Christmas planned in early spring has diminished to nothing. First my daughter who lives in Germany was going to come home with her David and his family. With Covid that was ruled out months ago. Then my sister and family who live in Alberta were going to come and the again the powers that be…threaten the populace with large fines for anyone who does not stay home. My son's cancellation was the last flicker of flame snuffed out. Not to mention the numerous friends and people who live alone that we normally invite in.
Christmas is all about family, friends, loved ones. I could skip the tinsel and tree, bows and beautiful. I could give up the presents and packages, but please, please don't ask me to give up my people. Disappointment could not cut deeper.
A divinely timed reading from Habakkuk 3:17-19 put this all into perspective.
"Though the fig tree may not blossom (Though the Christmas tree is trimmed and no one will see it...)
Nor the fruit be on the vines; (and the presents wrapped, pies baked, lights a-twinkling)
The labor of the olive may fail (Though we have laboured all year, the celebration of Christmas with family near, will fail.)
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls (though we the flock, the people of God, are cut off from the fold—with the church doors of worship closed.)
Yet—(this word YET holds all the power.)
Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord (this is a choice, a decision)
I will joy in the God of my salvation (God will be my family, my friend, my comforter.)
The Lord God is my strength (when I feel sad and low.)
He will make my feet like deer's feet (He will take my big, clumsy feet and make them as surefooted and nimble as a deer.)
And He will make me walk on high hills." (I shall rise to heights unknown triumphing over the low that bites at my heels, that serpent who bids I grovel in the dirt beside him.)
Yes, I may struggle to find my joy, but I love what Ann Voskamp writes, "Struggling and rejoicing are not two chronological steps, one following the other, but two concurrent movements, one fluid with the other."1 And it's true…my struggle with disappointment and my quest for joy wrestle for dominance—two concurrent movements. And really, there are those with way bigger problems, like that spoken of in this Scripture. Not enough food, sick children, cancer, marriage on the rocks, financial ruin, grief, etc. But this is real to me ... the sadness, the depression nipping at the edges and so we all reach for our Saviour wherever we find ourselves. All suffering is validated by our precious Jesus. He sees all and cares about all.
He promises in this Scripture if we choose to rejoice we shall walk on high hills, on heights far above the claustrophobic gloom of valley lows. And by golly, there might not be people, but there shall be joy!
Join with me and light the flame of the fourth advent candle…The Angel Candle of LOVE.
The angels had a front row seat to the love that came into this world in the form of a baby, who grew to be a man, suffered and died, rose from the dead, and so impacted the world that over 2000 years later the name of Jesus Christ is the most powerful name known to man.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, the whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:16
The Angel's Candle signifies the love of Jesus Christ which the angels know intimately. Tens of thousands of angels gather around the throne in heaven, at this moment. They continuously praise God, "Saying with a loud voice: Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing. …Blessings and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne And to the Lamb forever and ever!" Rev. 5:12,13
As we light that fourth candle of love, let's thank God for His amazing love.
And Christmas day I invite you to join with me as we light the final candle in the middle of our wreath representing JESUS CHRIST. Maybe this Christmas has been stripped bare, so that there will be nothing to distract from the real reason for the season.
Read John 1:14 with me "And the Word (another name for Jesus Christ) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." And then read Luke 2:1-40 the Christmas story.
The advent season is wrapped up in the wonderful truth of hope, faith, joy, and love because of Jesus Christ. Join the angels and share this resounding message of good tidings and great joy—He has come, and He will come again.
Listen to this song called Noel by Christ Tomlin with Lauren Daigle. It will bless you I promise...so powerful. Light your candle and I pray as we all meditate on the goodness of God's love, we will all be filled with the miracle of JOY!
Readings for the fourth week of Advent:
And you MUST watch this song with the most tear-jerking video, it goes beautifully with the readings you are going to do this week. Lauren Daigle, The Light of the World. The Christmas Story.
May you be blessed with a wonderful Christmas despite the world conditions. God is still on His throne.
All Scripture is taken from the NKJV
Scripture references for the daily readings supplied by biblestudytools.com and the descriptions by me.
1 Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift (Carol Stream, Illinois, Tyndale House Publisher, Inc, 2013), 201.
Thank you dear Blossom for your thoughtful and heartfelt words and scripture. May the Lord continue using your gift to bless others others.
Blossom, I love your name! (Just told my husband of many years when he asked what I'd like for Valentine's Day--I replied, BLOSSOMS), I am a Spring lover and all the blooms of that season, so I'm needing some from a hothouse to get me through to March and my daffodils just now pushing up. Just planted some lupins in a Lowe's seedling box but those blossoms are months away.
I really like this blog and your take on Habakkuk 3:17-19. It's been a blessing many times to me. I hooked into it from Misty Beller's email today recommending your book.
I'm busy finishing Misty's line edits on my Book 3, Anna Grace, Charleston Brides series I have contracted with Wild Heart Books. It's to be released Oct. 5. Are you also one of her authors? I've known her for quite a while through our ACFW-SC Chapter and even before she started her publishing company and really love this savvy lady and fine editor/publisher. Sounds like you live in Canada. I'm in South Carolina and Charleston is my fave city here. I've been to Toronto twice to visit the revival that took place there for several years.
You have a blessed, Jesus-filled day and keep WRITING good books,
Elva Cobb Martin
Pres. ACFW-SC Chapter, Anderson, SC Feb. 9, 2021