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Did you get super excited for Christmas as a kid? Especially when it came to presents? I sure did! Every year Mom would ask me what I wanted for Christmas and I’d write down a list that could fill a football stadium. All those toys and gadgets brought such temporary joy into my life. But the biggest need in my heart was the one that Santa could never deliver. I wanted to be part of a family that really loved each other.
Growing up my family was pretty messy.
I’m sure yours was too. I mean, let’s face it, nobody is perfect. But this was like super messy. My mom and dad were alcoholics. They fought all the time, mom would “bump” into tables with her arms, her legs and her face. The kids in our family had the same issue too. The stories we would make up for all the bumps and bruises were incredible. What was even more incredible is that the people we told them to chose to believe the lies at face value. I think we believed them at times too! “Talking” to each other at the top of our lungs was “normal,” even though in my heart I knew it wasn’t. I lived in a war zone for most of my childhood and young adult life.
At an early age, I knew Jesus.
I was probably three or four when we first became fast friends, but by eight or so, I was busting Santagate wide open in our home and really was all about making sure Jesus got the glory at Christmas.
When I found out that Santa wasn’t real, my ‘hope’ bubble popped. The hope I had been clinging to that Santa would somehow magically “fix” my family was stripped right out from underneath me.
Thankfully I knew Jesus would someday show me what it meant to be really loved by someone. I knew He would allow me to feel safe and secure in a home, not worried about saying something that could set someone off on a drinking spree or into a verbal or physical rage. I knew someday I would be in a home where I could lay my head down on a pillow at night and my body would be able to totally unwind and rest and get the good sleep it deserved.
I held onto the hope that the Lord would truly let me know what it meant to be loved by someone, without guilt trips, manipulation or being starved for affection because I did something that would have me “lose” the right to be loved for a period of time.
Look around you. There is so much joy this Christmas season, even if you don’t feel it.
Thankfully, I can fast forward through 20 plus years of insanity and tell you today, as I celebrate Christmas I don’t want or need anything from a store. Ok, that’s a lie. Because the perfect wrinkle cream that would take a decade off the area around my eyes will ALWAYS be a want and a need that can never be fulfilled. #justkeepingitreal
But other than that, I have everything I need. Family, a great church and my Jesus. My family is not perfect. My church isn’t either. But Jesus, He is perfect. I have peace when I lay down at night to sleep knowing that I am His child. I have security that no matter what comes my way, I am loved by an amazing Savior who died for me.
It’s amazing how as we get older all the things we really want and need can’t be bought from a store. Love. Security. Happiness. Laughter. Friendship. These are good and perfect gifts that only come from Above.
I’m so thankful for Jesus. For His beautiful gift of salvation. For His love for me. For His kindness and His mercy. For His grace. What are you celebrating this Christmas? No matter how bumpy your current season of life is, don’t be too busy this Christmas season to take time and thank the Lord for all the blessings He has given you. And take the time to let those little and big blessings in your life know just how much they bring you joy. Tell them over and over and over again if you have to.