To those who grieve on Christmas, who have experienced the loss of a loved one, or found yourself in an harsh circumstance today, perhaps disappointed, living with a loss of some kind, I want to say, "Hello" just to you this morning! This greeting is for and about you.
It can be easy to feel like you are crawling along on the outskirts of this day, pressed outside the worldwide joy parade by a sorrowful circumstance. You are watching it happen, trying hard not to be sad while the world sings, "Glory!" It can feel like the festivities are more like arrows to your heart than gifts, the sounds and visuals of the day a blaring reminder of what you are living without. In particular, if it is your first Christmas without a loved one, it is likely no less than a hike up Mount Everest to make it through this day emotionally. Even now, for me, years later, I still miss those who beat me Home. Christmas holds amplified emptiness when those we love are not with us in it.
I have a word for you. Hear me, beloved! You are not on the outskirts of this day. Do you know what everyone is gathered around? They are celebrating the coming of King Jesus, who is a man who was familiar with sorrow and well-acquainted with grief. I believe, although it is rarely acknowledged, that every single twinkling light is a sign that there is hope for those who are brokenhearted. This man Jesus came, and courageously pursued those who were most hurting. He is still doing that very thing today, on Christmas. His eyes and heart are towards you. You are not alone. You are not outside of what "Christmas" is about. You are actually the reason for this season.
YOU are the reason He came.
You grumpy grieving sorrowful beautiful person.
Perhaps feeling very much alone.
"He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Today is a holiday about Jesus, and Jesus sees you in your grief and loves you more deeply than anyone ever could. He is near to you, nearer than breath. It is possible to be comforted today and benefit deeply from the good news that sits at the core of this holiday. Jesus came, and is still coming, to save, rescue, and redeem those who are hurting. I declare to you – beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and praise for despair. Isaiah 61:1-3 belongs to you! Unwrap it. It’s all yours. You are at the center of what this day is about.
My love to the grieving today!
Love, Katie Luse.
The times held perilous darkness.
People were running for their lives.
A tyrant raged with orders of death,
and hope felt like a distant illusion.
A man called to support her.
A Savior was born.
A dirt floor was the Chosen Stage for the grand entrance of Messiah. Centuries foretold the event, and yet only the unseen realm knew to cheer. Dreams, visions, and supernatural experiences were the catalysts of His coming. They still are. A bright light hung on the canvas of a dark sky. Wise people followed that star. Wise people still choose the journey of hope, abandoning the guides of despair. Underneath life-threatening oppression something magnificent was birthed. History pivoted in the prickles of hay and the scent of cattle.
It smelled – bad.
It felt – bad.
It looked – bad.
But, it was actually goodwill for all.
Through the pain of childbirth, God unwrapped the gift of Peace to mankind. This performance will never be outdone. Gruesome. Painful. Targeted. Glorious. Complete.
God still chooses dirt floors.
We still weep for hope.
But now …the angels’ song is caught into an eternal sound -
That vibrates around your name, your story, your purpose, and your life.
No one is excluded.
The Light has come - One for all!
We are never without hope.
Anyone who wants hope can have it.
Do you need hope?
Follow the star.
My heart is at rest,
when I draw strength from you.
Presence in the pilgrimage
is far more valuable to me
than a golden destination.
The journey is where our friendship is forged.
Even the low points of my story are wells for the water of life.
Like bowls waiting to be filled, mine is the shape for your outpouring.
I no longer fear the strenuous climbs.
Each are invitations to be strengthened, to conquer new dimensions.
You are always there to hold me as my heart expands.
Your voice of affirmation clothes me at the end of each great climb.
As a pilgrim, I am confident that –
Every step matters.
And every step is beautiful –
If I dare to face reality –
And find you present in each step.
Bliss or struggle -
you are not surprised -
But present - whole - and right -
Shifting seasons baptize me with provisions,
as every season is obedient to your leadership in my life.
My frantic search for strength has stopped, at last.
I come to you for strength now.
Your strength is regenerative!
In your strength –
I go from strength –
to strength –
and then arrive with a full heart –
To face you,
In your home.
It is where I belong.
Press into my heart -
the highways to heaven.
So that my pilgrimage leads straight -
Today I want to celebrate the graduation of my baby girl, Aimee Star, from the outpatient care of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she was cared for upon birth for 39 days in the NICU, followed by outpatient care for months. We re-visited her doctors there the week before last. All of her tests came back normal and healthy! God be praised! This was a six-month journey of “following the Star.” Only God knows the depth of it for me as her Mom. I had to entrust her to God, to let go, and now I am being handed her back. My heart is expanding for Aimee in a brand-new way, like a balloon at last finding its full form through the pressure of fresh air!
Dr. Dori stepped into the room, “Well … look at her! This child does not need to be in this hospital!” His eyes turned to mine and after mine were caught like a fish on a hook he continued, “Go home! And, enjoy your life!” All of the sudden, I felt the need to leave the building fast. Happiness became a tyrant of grace pulling me, Aimee, and her stroller out of this gigantic nest of medical care for children. I took a beeline for the door without a single sentiment of wanting to farewell it slowly.
And, we went home.
And now, our orders now are to enjoy our life.
When one has orders to “Enjoy your life” after a life threatening journey, it trumps all the other orders that dare to contradict it like those that command fearful existence, uncertainty, anxiety, isolation, and the other stream of orders that threaten to destroy our sense of being alive these days.
From my life to yours – I am extended this order to you.
Whatever it looks like for you, this is an order from Aimee Star …
ENJOY YOUR LIFE!
Grab a Pen: What are 3 things that you enjoy? How can you gain access to them again?
Katie Luse is a speaker and writer who is passionate about navigating life with eyes on a hunt for beauty.