Claw marks on the Merry Christmas Highway.

wp-image-2051320622No one chooses their story. No matter how well we plan, how tightly we control our moments, we really have no idea what our lives will hold. We press forward in the direction we think our days should flow, but moment-by-moment, doors are either opened or closed to affirm or divert that direction. This may seem overly simplified, but it’s true.

This is how a life unfolds.

I think it would be interesting to be able to view the lives we’ve lived on a roadmap – to be able to see all the twists and turns that have happened to us along the way. It could serve as a visual summary of how far we’ve actually come in life.

But, if you were to zoom in closely on my personal journey over the last few years, you would see definite areas of claw marks on the highway behind me.

These are the times where things really started changing in directions that I wasn’t prepared to accept. There was resistance because I didn’t want to welcome their realities. Some I still don’t, but they’ve become part of my story, anyways.

I didn’t choose any of them, but they’re still there.

Tonight, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. This is when he became like us, yet still remained God. Such an incredible mystery is his story.

He left behind the glory of heaven to walk this earth with us. He lived a life that taught people how to love, how to forgive, how to face adversity, how to trust, how to be strong, and that it’s really okay to admit we’re weak.

Really, Debi … it’s okay.

But, ultimately, he left behind the glory of heaven to save us from ourselves.

We’re broken – we can’t help it. Sin entered our hearts a long time ago and its stain is an inescapable part of our DNA – no matter how beautiful we may appear to be. Every single one of us wears it. We didn’t choose this, but we own it all the same.

It’s there – written into our stories.

The most beautiful thing about Jesus – this little baby we’re celebrating – is that he DID choose his story. There are NO claw marks showing behind him on his roadmap.

He CHOSE to come walk this sin-filled earth with us. He CHOSE the difficult, painful journey he traveled. He CHOSE to love us. He CHOSE to teach us. He CHOSE to sacrifice himself in order to wash us clean – to get rid of that ugly stain we wear – in the only way possible.

He CHOSE to die for us.

He CHOSE to do all this so that one day we can join hands with him in heaven, throw our heads back with joy, and dance forever in perfect glory.

So, no matter how tough it can be at times to accept what our lives have become, we can always trust HIS story. Everything that happens to us has been perfectly planned out by a loving God. Some parts may make us happy, others may not. But that’s okay.

Because what’s really important is that every moment of our story contains the process of making us holy, which way out-trumps happy, my friends. Happy may look more fun, but it’s actually fragile. Fleeting. And too easily feigned.

Holy is eternal. It’s indestructible. Boundless. Stunning. True.

Through each second of our lives, we’re being refined, strengthened, and transformed more into the image of the One who loved us enough to choose us. This is where that true, unshakeable joy comes from. Not through presents, not pretty lights, or even precious time with family. It comes only through Jesus. His joy is eternal, unchanging, and totally worth any troublesome moments we may have the privilege of living.

So, remember. It’s for this, we celebrate.

It’s for Him.

So step away from your chaos.

Silence the noise.

Don’t look at any distractions surrounding you.

Just close your beautiful eyes and focus.

It’s all Him.

Ponder that for a moment.

He chose this.

He chose us.

That’s you and me, my friends.

Considering this, how can we be anywhere right now but down on our knees, humbled and utterly speechless by this most amazing gift? The perfect, abiding love of Jesus. It’s ours. And believe me, you won’t find anything more wonderful than that under any set of twinkly lights or even the most perfectly-tied bow. So relax in the gift of His peace and have a Merry, Merry Christmas.

Thanks so much for growing with me. ❤

As always, music has a way of piercing through the chaos surrounding me. Fernando Ortega’s “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” is perfect for decluttering the noise of our modern-day nonsense – especially today. Such peaceful lyrics. Wow. I often listen to this song as I drift off to sleep at night. Please take a moment to close your eyes and see what I mean.

 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned … For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6)

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