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For any woman battling her way through life, the holidays can feel like a mockery.

This season is a time for good cheer, gratitude, gatherings, comfort, and joy, but it’s also the one time of year when we are consistently prompted to lean into our emotions, memories, nostalgia, family experiences, and longings.

All those places where woundedness lives.

My mom was ill for years before I was born, as Schizophrenia already had a foot in the door when she was 19 and married my Dad. However, her intelligence and concealment conspired with the fear and familiarity of those around her, leaving her illness overlooked for years.

Until the day my mom lost reality itself, and everyone ran out of excuses.

In my mind, my family history divides by that day—the day before and the day after we fell apart.

Perhaps your story has its own day of demarcation, a day when you lost dreams and your vision of the future. It’s likely a day when fear, worry, anger, or some dark emotion found new comfortable corners in your heart.

For those whose emotions are ragged or who find it challenging to access hope, all the holiday talk of peace, joy, and hope can ring hollow.

Yet, for all the clanging tinsel and clashing holiday lights, there is true hope here.

At Christmas, we are tempted to see Jesus as he was, frail with human need. We forget the miracle of Christmas was not in birth but in incarnation.

It was God adopting flailing human form. The wonder is in the contrast between Jesus’ assumed limitations and his true, measureless majesty.

He has conquered death, rules over space and time, and all of us are bound up in them, and he dwells in unfathomable light. For a picture of who Jesus truly is, read Revelation 19:11-16.

Remembering who Jesus is, actually, can completely change the way we think and live.

We can live with remarkable faith when we know we serve a God who cannot be conquered. Jesus will return, not as the incarnate God, but in his full and impenetrable glory.

All our longings and hopes will be fulfilled—and more!

Like my family, you might have adopted a firm kind of pragmatism that comes to us in times of emergency. It stays alert, assesses needs, and knows how to get the job done.

It keeps us in action long past exhaustion and helps us compartmentalize life. It makes sure that grief and longing don’t intrude on what needs to happen today.

That detached practicality can help us function in a crisis, but it can also destroy the best parts of us and cost us our hope.

You were made to live with dreams, hopes, and longings, the deepest of which this life will not fulfill.

Our longings connect us with hope; hope is the gateway to anticipation, and anticipation can reframe our whole experience.

Whether you feel blessed or not this holiday, as a follower of Christ, you are.

Your future is secure in the hands of the one who made all of time. You have your own caregiver who knows better than you do that this life is not what it should be.

When you let yourself live with longing, you make room for eternal hope and anticipation.

Ask

What are you longing for? How can you lift your eyes from the baby in the manger to the coming King who makes all things new and restores all that sin and death aim to steal?

Pray

Lord, open my eyes to see your majesty and bring me into the wonder of being a child in your capable arms. Show me a new way to enter these holidays with my eyes fixed firmly on you in all your glory.

Sow

Who else might need a safe place to not be okay this holiday? Consider having a hot cocoa night where you allow yourselves to be in a place where good cheer isn’t forced but found in true companionship and comfort.