Your personal Christmas

"The Christmas tree looks so pretty all lit up in the pre-dawn darkness. I have decided to name her Eileen because she does. Eileen the Christmas tree. I don’t get very sentimental at the holidays. What Christmas means and how I celebrate it is more about how I live my life than it is about the twenty-fifth of December. Ask most people what Christmas means and they will talk about joy, peace, and brotherly love. Blah, blah, blah. That’s not what Christmas is about. Whether you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, or a son of God, or a great prophet/teacher, or just a guy, or even if you believe that He is a literary character, His story is not about peace and joy. It’s about causing trouble.

Jesus himself said that He came to divide. He was a big trouble maker. A trouble maker with a secret. This experience of healing from abuse has taught me more about Him and what He came to say than any bible study or preacher ever could. 'Pick up your cross and follow me.' Do it, don’t just watch. It is not about martyrdom. It’s about sacrificing. I know, you think you’ve already sacrificed enough. But you haven’t. You’re doing it wrong.

Sacrifice is not about living in a situation that causes you suffering. Sacrifice is not about accepting that you’ll never be happy in this world. If you’re not happy, how can you serve anyone, how can you fulfill your purpose? You do have one, you know. We all have one. The day you accept that and believe it - that will be your own personal Christmas. It will be the day of your birth, and an angel will sound a trumpet, and a shepherd will bow his head, and a star will brightly burn.

You can come from the most miserable of circumstance. You can begin with not a penny in your purse nor a friend in this world. That’s how Jesus came. If you do accept your Christmas, then no matter your religion, your culture, your beliefs, you will be a Christian on some sort of level. Forget about what that means to you right now. It’s all fabricated by someone other than Jesus. 'Christian' isn’t even His word. It’s something that other people made up. They started the day He died, and they haven’t stopped. Making stuff up.

You have a ministry. It’s not to buy gifts or decorate trees, or bake cookies. It’s to begin your own journey of love, and then pick up that cross. It’s about doing, not watching. Hurting people who love you if you have to. Shaking up the world. Causing lots and lots of trouble. For a higher cause.

If you and your situation are anything like me and mine, you have been at this martyr thing for a long time. You have tried, over and again. Maybe you’ve been in counseling, or bent the ears of everyone and anyone who would listen until you are too embarrassed to bring it up anymore. You’ve waited. And waited. You’ve prayed. If God is a loving God, you may ask, then why won’t He get me out of this? Why does He want me to continue to live in misery? He doesn’t. God didn’t get you into the mess you’re in. You did. You can find the way to get yourself out. You need a miracle, my friend.

I believe, with all my heart, that this is the message Jesus brought: It’s not how you perform that matters; it's the state of your heart.  

Jesus knew that washing your hands doesn’t make you clean. Saying you have love doesn’t make you loving. He put His life on the line to teach these lessons. He made his mother cry. People like Judas didn’t understand. The Roman soldiers threw dice for Jesus’ clothes. They were all so busy being a mother and a friend and an employee that they didn’t see the big picture. They were all caught in their acts, and they got caught in the act. Of perception.

Jesus could have had a wonderful life. He knew a trade, He had friends, people were drawn to Him wherever He went. He would have wanted for nothing. But He got more by giving it all up. He let go. He surrendered. And then what happened? Well, we’ll talk about that at Easter."

This post is adapted from the book, Taking the Stairs: My Journal of Healing and Self-Discovery.