Every Christmas, I try to write some nice flowery or deep though-provoking little speech to share with the family. This year, I started to write up what I thought would be Jesus' wish list. Here's the mini-version I had of the three things He wants:
1.He wants our burdens (1 Peter 5:7)
2. He wants us to give to those in need (Matthew 25:40)
3. He wants us to be glad (Psalm 100:2)
4. He wants us to be unashamed of the Gospel (Mark 8:38)
As I was writing this lovely speech up, I found out my mom was refusing to come to another Church event. Not just any Church event. Our Christmas Eve Service. Something we've done every year for my entire life. Something we never missed for any reason. But sure enough, about an hour before leaving she announced she wouldn't be joining me. I was heartbroken. I was angry. I was frustrated. I said things I shouldn't have said, and used tones of voice that I never wanted to use.
Then I went to church. Oh look at me, happy-wonderful-positive-look-at-me me...I did my duty with the childcare, and headed off to service. I watched all the men and women, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, all together in the church, worshipping God. I said to God, "You know, God, things would be much better and easier for me if my family went to church too. Why couldn't they all be as in love with You as I am?" This thought rattled through my brain during the entire service. I began to feel genuine jealousy for the lives all of my brothers and sisters in Christ were leading.
Then I asked Pastor David to pray for me after the service. I asked for patience to deal with my family. A former pastor of mine always said to never pray for patience, because God will give you practice instead...so I was always afraid to ask for patience. But that is what I felt I needed, so that is what I prayed for. I remember Pastor David specifically prayed that I would be able to endure the season with my family.
I got into my car and drove home. On the way, God opened His mouth in response to my thoughts and prayers. He reminded me of the day I realized that if He didn't give me something, it's not because He isn't faithful, it is because it wasn't a need. He told me that if He thought I needed a family who followed Him in order to survive in my faith, that's what He would have given me. But, He said, He gave me this family for a reason, and I need not question Him, and to top it off, I should still be thankful for the family I do have.
So I stepped into the house with a fresh outlook about my family. So, my prayers were answered. Not only was I able to "endure" Christmas. I was able to enjoy it, quite thoroughly! With laughter and jokes and happiness and joy, like Christmases past.
I praise my Jesus for all of His Provision! He's the only one I know who gives for His birthday, though He rarely receives what He's due on this special day. I hadn't realized that in writing that list, I wasn't giving Him any of those things. It wasn't until I did, that I truly was able to enjoy this Christmas!
Thank You Jesus for Your gift of Yourself. Thank You for taking my pain and burdens and worries and complaints and turning them into pure joy. You are Faithful!