Merry Christmas!

This won’t be that extra basic Christmas post that everyone puts up on Christmas day. This is personal, about how Christmas hope has changed my life.

Up until a few weeks ago, I wasn’t into “the whole Christmas thing” and kind of just wanted this holiday to get over with. I told my family at thanksgiving that it was ok to put up the Christmas tree without me. I didn’t feel like doing it when I was home for thanksgiving so I just said I had too much work to do. When I saw my sister’s snapchat story a few weeks ago, I regretted that. Why? Because I had found hope – hope that I didn’t even realize was there to be found.

If you haven’t read my post yesterday, you might want to do that. I will probably be referencing that a lot. It references what has been so far the hardest day of my entire life. I wanted to give up my fight on a Monday a while ago. On the following Thursday night, I knew I would do anything to live. What changed? God answered my prayer on Monday. He showed up when I felt like all hope was lost. He was there to say, “Hey, I’m still here. I hear you, I see you, and I know your hurt.” By Thursday, I realized how free I was. I realized that my fight was just beginning. I promised God that if He did something to take even a little bit of the hurt away, I would keep fighting no matter what. I didn’t expect to have to keep that promise, but God showed up in a miraculous way that day. And so I have a promise to keep. I realized that day how big God is that day. And for the first time in years, I got a taste of the heart of Christmas.

Christmas is today, and it is a day of HOPE!! Christmas is God coming down to us to be among us. Christmas is the hope of a Savior who came to us as we are. Christmas is a message of hope and light for those who feel like the most unwanted. Shepherds were, in a sense, the unwanted and cast out. But the shepherds were the first ones to be told that Jesus was born. God doesn’t give preference to the rich or the popular or the intelligent or whoever you admire. On the inside, we are all the same – broken, flawed humans. He came for the ones who need a doctor, not for the ones who are “perfect” (anyone who thinks they have no problems needs to check themselves and find the plank in their own eye). That’s the heart of Christmas. A perfect God stooping down to us and becoming one of us so that we could find freedom through the cross (which came 33 years later).

This Christmas, take the time to read the Christmas story (I recommend the first few chapters of Luke) and really consider the importance of Christmas, especially in your own life. Christmas brings hope and freedom and life. Not always the kind of hope that takes away the storm (I still fight my anxiety and depression pretty much every day) but the kind of hope that gives you calm within the middle of the storm.

Wherever you are in your walk of life, there is hope. Look to a baby who was born in a manger to rescue your heart and set you free. Fall on your knees before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who gave up heaven to become a human baby and feel pain and suffering so that you could spend an eternity with Him in a place void of all pain and all suffering. This year, don’t miss the heart of Christmas.

where have you built your house?

The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
And the wise man’s house stood firm.

If you’ve grown up in the church, you have probably heard this song before, maybe too many times that you forgot to think about what it means. And if you haven’t, check out this video here. So yeah, it is a silly kids song. But maybe it’s more than that.

Anxiety can feel like an endless storm. But if you have to have the storm either way, would you rather stand firm through it or be smashed to pieces? That’s what the song is about. The song is about standing firm in Christ despite the storms raging around you.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:24-27

The song originates from that passage. Two people try to accomplish the same task. The task mentioned is building a house. So let’s liken that to building and living your life. So the wise man lives his life by relying on God through reading the Bible and doing what it says. The foolish man disregards the Bible and builds on a much weaker foundation. This foundation could be the lies of the world, a false god, another religion… really anything that is not of God. The storms of life come. Things get hard. And only the one who is founded on God will have the strength to stand. 1 Samuel 2:2 says, “No one is holy like the Lord, for there is no besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.”

This is something I am still working on – to make Jesus my first thing. Sometimes, I go to other things first. And yeah, going to my support group and listening to Christian music are great things. But Jesus needs to be first. Reading the Bible and crying out to Him need to be first. And it is something that I will continue to work on.

Where is your house built? Where are you building your life? Because if it’s not God, there is no hope. Jesus brings hope and truth and life, because He is all of those things. Without a firm foundation, a house – and your life – cannot stand.