Christmas is Bigger Than Your Opinion Of It

catIt was on a December 27th (long enough ago that I got the news over a corded phone) that my family was ending.

At least the blow waited until after the 25th, but is there really ever a “good time” for such things?

The result was a double whammy for Christmas. Not only was the month now historically connected with tragedy in my mind, but every family gathering since has screamed its ongoing incompleteness. The count in the room is always short.

Others have similar stories (and I’ve heard a lot worse). Christmas has a way of reminding you of what you’ve lost, or never had to begin with.Β A brief week of sanity before going back to the grind, fear, and disappointment.

So I’m the last person to tell anyone to “just get over it and celebrate”. The Bible defends our grace-given ability to approach God with our pain. Psalms is full of it. Jeremiah vents to God even though he knows exactly why God is inflicting his nation. Even Jesus does not try to hide his sweat and blood from his Father.

So please don’t hear me saying that God doesn’t care about our disappointment. It matters to him.

BUT.

But.

It eventually occurred to me that instead of taking my disappointment to God, I might instead be letting it usurp his throne.

As the years passed following my family’s implosion, I allowed a certain annoyance towards Christmas to creep into my heart.

Perhaps you can relate. You drive down the street perusing houses wrapped in glowing lights, listening to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra rumble out the familiar carols, and you feel…left out. As if your trials are a secret, gift-wrapped under a tree nobody is putting up. “From now on our troubles will be out of sight”…what bogus. Christmas is when they most come INTO sight.

So I felt entitled to the cynicism. It validated my frustration and helplessness. “I don’t get to celebrate like everyone else, so I won’t celebrate in my heart.”

The frustration was real. But I wasn’t taking it to God. I was trying to put it in God’s place. For whatever rules your soul is the thing you’ve put on your life’s throne.

Part of becoming mature in the faith is accepting our place in things. At the end of the day, there is still a throne. And I am not on it.

Christmas is the advent of the One who is.

Christmas is the arrival of the One who can repair our lives.

Christmas is the approach of the One who can make my heart strong and true when he doesn’t repair.

Christmas is the announcement of the One who will ultimately leave behind all our craters in a rear-view mirror darkly.

And one day I wondered -how much sense does it make to toss all this out of my heart? Shouldn’t all this be bigger than my struggles?Shouldn’t HE be bigger?

And if he is bigger, so is the holiday that heralds his coming.

It was easy for my internal dialogue to respond “Sure, God, you can be bigger…so BE bigger. Fix things!” But that wasn’t the way out. I tried it. It didn’t work. I found instead that putting him back on the throne of my life, acknowledging his sovereignty and his way of doing things – including his right to decide how to respond to Satan’s assault on my family – actually opened the door to his comfort. Surrender first, then comfort.

The manger points to the cross. The cross points to the empty tomb. Victory over all suffering, the wiping away of all tears, is secured and on its way. Though sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning.

Does my life ever reflect that? My attitude?

I’m learning to find a balance between mourning and morning. I have come to believe that there are times to grieve and times to give Jesus credit for being bigger than our disappointments.

Try taking a day and dedicating your attitude towards God’s superiority over your travails. You will need his strength to do this, for our outrage and anger towards him are considerable. But I do not think you will find any other gateway to his comfort. He is on the throne; we are not. Everything gets rolling when we acknowledge that.

Without the cross and the empty tomb, we are more to be pitied than any man. With them, we are more than conquerors. Our hope is immutable. Our God is incredible.

That’s why I bought my first Christmas tree two years ago, and why I will do so again this weekend.

34 thoughts on “Christmas is Bigger Than Your Opinion Of It

  1. Morning Brandon, great insights. This spoke to my heart: “I’m learning to find a balance between mourning and morning. I have come to believe that there are times for us to grieve and times to give Jesus credit for being bigger than our disappointments. Perhaps there are days – not every day, but some – when just taking a deep breath and thrusting aside the weight of the world is appropriate. Even holy.” Facing some “Abram” changes in our life, so your words are timely. Prayers appreciated, Brother!

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  2. Pingback: Another Powerful Post from Brandon Adams | Robin Luftig

  3. Brandon –

    Everyone who has ever dealt with pain, guilt, or a serious case of “shoulda’s” needs to read your posts. There is a world waiting that offers hope … and you share that very well. Merry Christmas, my online friend. May you experience all the blessings that God has waiting for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow. This really hit home with me this morning. My family fell apart right before Christmas several years ago. Sometimes I still don’t think I’m “over” it (do we ever REALLY get over it?), but I put my entire life and everything that goes along with it in His capable hands. Thank you for being a reminder, as the holiday season approaches.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m really sorry about what happened to your family. God certainly brings healing and strength from such things; he certainly gets you looking forward again; but I don’t know if we ever put it fully behind us until the next life (which is probably the point of the next life!). May God continue to heal you and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is good, Brandon. I’ve been feeling disappointed this month at how our family changed by our kids divorces. How it alters our celebrations. But then today I spent time praying for others. My whole attitude shifted as I sat before his throne. I realized prayer keeps my thoughts on Him and off me. That is breakthrough! So keep writing truth for our God IS bigger!

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  6. This is awesome:) I too have struggled with discontentment during the holidays – never being satisfied with the gifts I receive, not understanding how everybody around me can have so much joy during the season while a dysfunctional and hard things are happening in the world all around us. Yet, I am refreshed to have been reminded of the true meaning of Christmas and the incredible power it has. This world is not our home, and we have Jesus to thank for that.

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  7. No point in replying to your Message Brandon as you ignore my Comments but My wishes for you and for your Loved ones this Christmas are for Treasures great and small and as we remember Jesus as our Special Gift above all to Cherish, His Love, Joy and Peace are His Gifts for us that never depart when kept in our Heart.

    “Christ”mas and New Year Blessings,
    Anne ( Grannie Annie )

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not ignoring you. πŸ™‚ I haven’t had the chance to respond to many comments in the last couple weeks, and none at all since last Thursday. Holidays and all.

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      • You have not replied to my Comments for a lot longer than a couple of weeks Brandon this is why I no longer follow you but you could be worse some delete my Comments when they don’t agree with me without Scriptural confirmation I’m in error its just what they think or others have told them instead of Trusting our only Spiritual Teacher Jesus and asking God for His Wisdom and Empowering by The Holy Spirit which none of us were Born with, He tells us He will give them to us if we ask and He does not Lie.

        Blessings – Anne.

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  8. Hey, this is an amazing post! Short and to the point. However, it speaks volumes. This holiday season was pretty tough for me to get into the spirit and I had to take a moment to realize like your title says – it is bigger than my opinion of it. When you remember what you are actually celebrating and not what the world is displaying as the true meaning of it, you become grateful and find joy in that exactly!

    Liked by 2 people

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