It’s Christmastime. As I write this blog I’m sitting in a coffee shop, sipping a maple latte and listening to the low murmur of people chatting, drinks being mixed, and soft Christmas music playing in the background. Outside, the streets of Old Limassol are decorated in garlands and bows, and the chilly winter air has finally blown in from the Sea. And while all these things shout Christmas, they seem to mean so much less to me this year. This Christmas is different.
I could go on and write a post about how much I miss my family, the warmth of our home filled with family and friends, and all the traditions I’m so accustomed to. I could talk about how much of a sacrifice it is to give these things up this year to be here serving the youth of Cyprus. But while those feelings of missing home are very real some days, the Father has been stirring my heart instead to rejoice in Him with exceedingly great joy(Matt. 2:10). While there are honest moments when everything in me just wants to be home during this time, I count it as great gain that I have been stripped of all the traditions and hustle and bustle of the Christmas season this year because it has left me with Jesus. While tradition and family are both such amazing gifts and there is nothing inherently wrong with them, having those layers of the Christmas season lifted from my eyes, I have been able to see in a completely new way just how great a gift the Savior is.
Motivated by his perfect love, the Lord of lords, King of kings, Creator of all things emptied himself and stepped down from his throne in heaven to come into this broken world, a world that rebelled against him(Philippians 2). He brought hope into this world, a hope that we can place our full trust in, a hope worth dying for. This is Christmas.
My prayer is that my heart would continue to rejoice in this hope everyday, beyond just the Christmas season. May we all experience the Father in more and more raw ways as we allow him to strip down distractions until we are just left with him. May the message of Christmas be constantly on our lips and pouring forth from our lives(Joshua 1:8).