How many ornaments have you broken this year?
I always break at least one.
I’ll be honest. Some ornaments I can live without, others are special and I would be sad if they broke. Things can’t last forever. Sometimes you have to let go.
Christmas is all about letting go.
God the Father let go of His son Jesus to come to earth.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to let go of her youth and hopes of a celebratory engagement.
Joseph, the father of Jesus, had to let go of his reputation and the security of his future.
Zechariah, a relative of Jesus, had to let go of his voice.
Elizabeth, a relative of Jesus, had to let go of her barrenness.
Christmas came through a series of letting go. (Luke 1:1-2:20 NIV)
Letting go can be one of the most difficult things in this life. Broken ornaments are one thing but letting go of a job, a dream, health, a home or a child is altogether different.
When my children were learning to swim my husband spent time in the pool teaching them what to do. When the time came for them to practice they would have to let go and swim out into the water. There would be that scary moment when they let go of the wall. There they were, dangling in that frightening place between the wall and their daddy’s hand. Those were swirling moments, when they had to let go, when they weren’t sure if they could reach their father, when they had to feel fear.
Letting go is sometimes forced upon us. We have no other choice and it is unwelcome.
Sometimes we have to let go for our own emotional, spiritual and physical health and it’s so very hard.
Other times we must choose to let go in order to gain something new.
In any case, letting go is a part of each of our lives, like broken ornaments.
Like many of you, I’m a bit reflective at the holidays. I think about Joseph and Mary, real people faced with a real predicament. An unplanned, albeit supernatural, baby. An assignment directly from God. A hostile environment both at home and abroad. So many things to let go of.
- Expectations for a “normal” life
- Support of family and friends
- Living in their hometown
- Never having the “honeymoon” stage of marriage (i.e. pre-kids)
- Financial security
- Their own plans
Maybe you find something on their list that relates to you?
It amazes me the hardship that is wrapped around the story of Christmas. It humbles me to think of how I idealize Christmas and forget how it was forged.
Letting go was imposed on Mary and Joseph. Read their story.
They also chose to let go in order to embrace something new. I think this must have been intensely difficult. Choosing to let go is just as challenging as being forced to let go.
My children had to let go of the side of the pool in order to find the waiting arms of their father. Sure, they flopped in the water, their heads went under, they felt fear, they tried their best to swim, but their father grabbed hold of them just at the right time. In the chaos of the letting go they found their fathers embrace.
Sometimes letting go is just that. Flopping, fearing, sinking, trying. It’s chaos. It’s a broken ornament all over the floor.
Is there something you need to let go of? Has letting go been imposed on you? Do you feel the chaos and uncertainty of it all?
Find your story in the Christmas story for it too is filled with chaos and letting go.
Letting go free’s your hands to embrace something new.
In the flopping, fearing, sinking, trying, chaotic, broken ornament minutes of our lives, Christmas comes to teach us how to let go because letting go happens to all of us.
Christmas is the display of the Father’s embrace.
It’s the tangible expression of Light’s promise to peer into our darkness.
Christmas lets us sink but will never let us drown.
It’s hope wrapping around, telling us our mess doesn’t have to define our lives.
Christmas is whispers of love songs that slowly melt us and lead us back to wonder.
Christmas comes to free our hands to embrace something new in difficult times.