This is the final touch to my Jesse Tree this year. One thing I determined to finish as sort of a gift to Jesus, since there is really nothing He needs, except a heart that really wants to do something to honor Him. In November, I reprinted the paper ornaments from Ann Voscamp’s site on shiny photo paper. Added some glitter and glue and each day, after reading the Advent devotion, I would place an ornament on this little fake tree, post a reflection on Instagram, and carry those thoughts with me throughout a season full of distractions. I have to tell you it made a difference. This year’s been a doosey, hasn’t it? I think we are all feeling it and the one thing we might be looking forward to, like Christmas, has us still getting sick and struggling with all kinds of problems.
Jesus came on the scene as a babe in a stinky stable, placed in the feed manger for a bed, for crying out loud. And during the darkest days in earth’s history. There were very few looking for His coming and fewer than that welcoming it. Whatever was going on around His birth did not matter because the Answer to all our problems and questions was born and we could breathe safe because He was with us now.
I needed to be reminded of that this month. Every. Single. Day. The end of the year of anxious moments adding up to anxious days and anxious months can be upended when we realize He keeps His promises to us. We can experience renewed hope and restored relationships, because He came. And we can be sure that Christmas means that the Gift will never be taken away, and even in suffering, the Gift stays with you. When we focus on this, focus on Him, how beautiful the tapestry of our faith life becomes.
Dear reader, you are beautiful, not because you have always been kept safe and comfortable from the trials you have experienced, you are beautiful because of how you have welcomed Him into each hard place. You have allowed Him to be your strength and comfort. Women like that can change the world. Women like that show others that bitterness and unforgiveness cannot exist within a heart that is truly grateful for Immanuel. God with us.