You guyyyysss! Christmas is in FULL swing and we are somehow already less than two weeks away (they weren’t kidding when they said time flies the older you get). I like to call myself a Christmas Queen, not necessarily because I am “good” at Christmas, but because this time of year makes me absolutely burst with joy. I have always seen posts or people talking about how this time of year is actually the most difficult for them. It’s something I understood, but never really felt. And then… I moved out. Don’t get me wrong, I still love celebrating Christmas (just look at my Instagram story any given day). This year has just been a lot harder than the others and I am finally starting to understand others feeling the Christmas blues.

This past year has been filled with a lot of change, as you all know. I graduated college, started my first full-time job, got married, moved out, etc. This time last year, I was finishing up my last finals and cuddling up by the Christmas tree without a care in the world. Everything was warm and I was living life every day like a child—minimal responsibilities, and an air of “new” along the way. This year is still warm and cozy. I love the home Jon and I have made together and being with him every day has made me so stinking joyful. A few weeks ago, I wrote about feeling homesick after getting married and moving out. Well, I was beginning to win that battle… until Dec 1stcame around. I feel so sad this year and I’m trying really hard to fight the aching in my heart (even though my family is 15 minutes away). Christmas just feels so much heavier this year.

I finally understand the feeling of ache people typically get towards this time of year. I am more reflective of the family I have lost and the family I don’t get to see every day. It’s also made me think of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. It doesn’t have to be this glittery, activity-packed season. I have really needed to simply focus on the joy and light of what this time of year means. So last week, I decided to sit down and read the story of Jesus coming into the world through the Book of Luke. Within maybe one verse, my whole heart shifted and I began to understand why I still love this time of year.

Luke 1 starts off with the birth of John the Baptist and then goes into the birth of Jesus—two birthing miracles right after the other. Zechariah (John’s dad) was in so much disbelief that he and his wife, Elizabeth, who were old and had no other children would be able to have a baby that God silenced him until the day the child was born. While Elizabeth was pregnant, the angel Gabriel came to visit a young virgin that would help to change the world. After Mary asked how she could possibly be pregnant and the angel told her of the miracle of Elizabeth, she simply replied: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

The fear and anxiety she must have felt being young and pregnant in a society where being pregnant and unwed could get you killed… I can’t even imagine that happening today!! If I had gotten pregnant before I was married, I know the looks… the hateful words… the judgement. And it’s 2019. This poor, young woman stood tall and let God lead her life despite her fear and worry. That is part of what we are celebrating this time of year. A woman who was courageous enough to let God in to do the miracle He needed to do. A God who gave us the most precious and wonderful gift. Generations of people who would finish waiting for their Savior to appear, for their spirit to finally be redeemed. All of this happened because God chose a woman who would swallow her fear and say “yes.”

Christmas is hard for those who are hurting because it seems like the whole world is smiling and forgetting when we can’t. It’s a reminder that we are different and changed from the past year—whether it’s good or bad. Even though we are grieving, dealing with unforgiveness, or riddled with anxiety and fear… God can still implant joy inside of us. Elizabeth was far too old to be pregnant, but God made her doubtful husband silent while He worked on the miracle. Mary was a virgin—utterly impossible to be pregnant—but God filled her with the courage to have faith in His plan. I pray that this Christmas, you see the true meaning. That Christmas was not pretty or lovely. Jesus came in a dirty, ugly barn, yet the world and the angels still sang about His birth. You may feel like Mary in that manger, but remember His promise, remember what she delivered on that day. Embrace your ugly and messy Christmas, because that was what it was intended to be all along.

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