As you may know from one of my last posts, I moved out of my parents’ house a little over a month ago. It was a big change, challenging a lot about what I thought about the concept of Home, my relationships with my friends, family, career, and more.
And while much of that has settled, now that the holidays are upon us, it seems I’m heading into round two.
We are a tradition family. The same faces, places, and activities have marked the passage of our Christmases for decades. And while there have been some years where those have shifted (I was abroad in 2016 for example), by and large, things have stayed mostly the same for the almost 30 years I’ve been alive.
Additionally, I have always loved Christmas. The songs, the lights, the presents, all of those things have always factored heavily into what I think of when I think of Christmas.
But the past few years, well, things have seemed…different. I don’t listen to Christmas music as non-stop as I used to. Family members have moved. The feelings I can still remember so distinctly from middle and high school have faded with time.
Something in me has changed.
And this year, with the move and several other significant changes, these differences have seemed more poignant than ever. It’s felt like chasing after something you already know is gone, a stone house crumbling to ash, waves washing away the sand.
And that’s very overdramatic, yes, but it’s also sometimes how I’ve felt.
But, something I’ve been learning–re-discovering maybe, is that true to almost every cliche Christmas movie you can think of, none of that is really what Christmas is about.
This year has felt a bit like a fox hunt, a taming and stripping back of what I think and know. So much of it has been me running from God, hiding in every little nook and cranny of what I think might provide me something when I know, really, that anything worth having, the only things that have meaning, can only come from Him.
And the truly amazing thing is how faithful He has been, how patient, how gentle. Wherever I have fled and ran, God has been faithful to pursue, not to yank things out of my hands, but to wait, hands outstretched, for me to lay them down.
So often I have run because I have been terrified of what He was going to say. “Let go of this. Stop doing that. You’re not good enough.” It’s the same fear I’ve fought for years, the fear it feels like I’ve always had.
But God tells a different story about my life, not one of crumbling ash, but of chipping stone, not of disaster and breaking, but of sculpting, freeing the living and exuberant from the drab and dead.
This year, it has been hard to face the reality that, as we all know, life, ultimately, changes. It’s been painful to have to set aside my faith in other things, to admit defeat, and welcome grace. It has not been easy to open myself, to open doors and walls to let Him in.
But let me tell you one thing.
It has been so worth it.
And as I look ahead to this next year, I want to face it fiercely, to tackle it head-on. I want to keep pushing forward, keep letting him in, and learn to trust my Father, that He loves me more than I could ever know. I want to let Him love me.
Because like cookies and lights and songs don’t make Christmas, none of those other things make me. For so long, I have been afraid of moving forward, of taking chances and letting go of what I already know I can do.
This year, I want to take those steps. I want to see what else I can learn.
This year for Christmas, I want to be a phoenix.
So, what about you? What challenges have you faced this year and how have you overcome them? Where do you still need to grow? Have you had times in your life where your understanding of major elements of your life have changed? How did that affect you and what did you do? Let me know in the comments below, and if you want more content like this, feel free to follow me here or on social media with the links below!