broken holiday tradition.

The holiday season brings with it diverse, and often conflicting, emotions and implications. There is much celebration, a spirit of peace and brotherhood, a stirring to be just a little more generous than usual… And, there is often a deep loneliness. Memories of broken childhood, lost relationship, regret and longing for something different hover just above our Christmas tree, weave themselves into our parties and quiet moments. In today’s climate, beyond just our personal experiences, we can find ample opportunity to feel the ache of dissension, and the bitterness of divide.

Humanity is so very frail; not only in its inability to provide for eternal life, as the soul so desperately longs for, but in its deep blindness to the belief that somehow it CAN. We strive in all things to control, all the while frantically grasping at clouds of illusion. We fall over and over, and in our fear, cling to power, sex, substances, social media distractions, manipulation, ego…blame…unforgiveness…anger…pain…

The dichotomy is that in our effort to gain the upper hand, we inadvertently find ourselves in captivity.

For those of us who celebrate Christmas, there is an opportunity to find freedom from our captivity. Even within a broken system, we can find the peace that comes with letting our Savior come, and once again release us from that which has entrapped our minds and souls.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 – What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The cry of all humanity since the beginning of time has been one of redemption, of healing, of freedom. Below are a few of the verses that speak the loudest to my heart. I encourage you to stir up your faith today – to remember that your heart, mind and soul, between the memories, your hope, and the fear, can still find its fullness of freedom.

Shalom.

COME O COME EMMANUEL LYRICS

[Verse 1]

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear,
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel
[Verse 3]
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave 

[Verse 6]
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high
And order all things, far and nigh
To us the path of knowledge show
And cause us in her ways to go

[Verse 7]
O come, desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease
And be Thyself our King of peace

[Refrain]
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O COME O COME EMMANUEL LYRIC

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Growing up I loved to draw, paint, and create. Music was a lifeline, and I daydreamed in every spare moment. Homework was docked points as fingers of my thoughts crept into every empty space they could find. Thirty-some years later, I am realizing that I am not as much of an artist in the traditional sense, but rather a feeler, with a deep need to express myself – through whatever means available.

We all have a desire to be seen; to be heard and understood. Regardless of our gender, race, age, religious ideologies or socioeconomic positioning in this life, we each seek to express ourselves in our daily lives. Some are more political and relational from a broader world view, while others relate more interpersonally. There are those who see the world through lenses of art and music, others who use spectacles forged in the gym or on the field. However you are wired, our souls fight to be acknowledged – it is a deep and sacred thing.

In today’s climate, there are myriad mediums in which to live our lives out loud, and conversely, just as many vices with which to hide those parts which may seem too vulnerable. However, there is one space in which our deepest selves can be wholly seen, expressed, and appreciated for its fullness; and that is in the quiet with our creator.

Today, try pushing back on the cultural norm that says success is found in the busy, or screaming loudly from center stage. Shift in your perspective from one that says lonely is bad, because it is sometimes in the separation, where we are most able to confront the depth of who we are as individuals. Sometimes, the quiet, gentle truth and embracing of our unique individualism is the key to discovering our purpose. And value.