The other morning I got up early because I couldn’t sleep. I decided to read my Bible because it felt like God had been calling me, as I’ve been looking for peace in this holiday season. Looking to find some Christmas in this Christmas season, if you know what I mean. I’ve been struggling with change as people that I love grow old, get sick, die, move away, or re-prioritize their lives. It’s difficult, especially at Christmas, when your memories are so vivid and you just want things to be the way they used to be.
There are so many things to think about and life seems to be hurtling past at 100 miles an hour. Heartaches, sicknesses, deaths, troubles, things to do, people to help, places to go, prayers to be prayed – but I know that God wants me to have peace with the past and with the present. I know that He does, even as I sometimes fight Him as He tries so faithfully to give me His best.
I find myself singing the Where are You Christmas song (the Cindy Lou Who version, not the Faith Hill one, yuck) and it happened again this week. Where are you, Christmas? Why can’t I find you?
On that morning, I decided to read Isaiah 43 since I had jotted it down from something one of the trainers at my gym mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It’s funny that the kids’ library book on the table next to me was “Finding Christmas,” which was exactly what I was trying to do. Coincidence?
The passage in the Bible says:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch you, for I am the Lord your God, the holy one of Israel, your Savior. Since you were precious in my sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you…. Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing. Now shall it spring forth, shall you not know it? I will make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Not exactly a Christmas passage, is it? I decided to look up the word REDEEMED. After all, it says that He has redeemed ME. It means: To compensate for the faults of. To do something that makes up for poor past behavior. To atone or make amends for error or evil. To save from sin. To gain or regain possession of in exchange for payment. To repay, exchange, pay to clear a debt, carry out a promise, or buy the freedom of.
Wow. Maybe a Christmas story is EXACTLY what that passage is. His indescribable, amazing, undeserved gift. He’s done all that for me. Redeemed ME. Knows MY name. I am HIS. When I pass through the waters, he will be with ME. Not IF, but WHEN I pass through them. And then He plainly tells me to not worry about the past but to look for what he’s going to do for me in the future.
Today, after 4 days of a killer stomach virus, I found myself singing that song again as I tried to de-germ our house. But this time, almost immediately, four random things popped into my mind for some reason. One, how the kids bundled up into their snowsuits a couple of weeks ago to shovel the driveway of our elderly widowed neighbor. Two, when we helped a friend who’s having a hard time so her family could have a better Christmas. Three, when my girls gathered up a box of toys and clothes to give to a stranger – a single dad we’d never even met – so his daughter would have a gift to open on Christmas morning. Four – the thought “I am redeemed.”
Maybe all of those things are Christmas.
I love how God sometimes reminds you of the things that matter at a time when you least expect it, like when you’re fumigating your house with too much Lysol.
Where are you, Christmas?
I think I found you. Here, in my heart. My redeemed, loved, precious-to-God heart.