It occurred to me yesterday, in fact, that we are "those people" this year. The ones everyone says, "Let's remember the people who don't have anyone to spend the holidays with this year."
We have no family here. And the two friends we do have here left today to go on vacation.
And to top it off, it's day five of Elliott being sick. So sick he and Richard spent all day at the hospital on Saturday.
And I started to throw another pity party like I did when Richard and Elliott went to the States without me.
Poor me. Poor us.
And God said, "Really?"
"Yes, really," I said. "We are all alone here. No friends, no family. Elliott's sick. We're all tired from lack of sleep. It doesn't even feel like Christmas.... half of the Christmas lights on our tiny tree went out, for goodness sake!!"
"I thought I was all you wanted for Christmas," He said after a pause long enough to make me realize how ridiculous I am.
Well, yeah. There's that.
The past several Christmases, God has worked in our hearts about the overindulgence that Christmas has become materially. We've done a great job as a society to turn it into a self-centered, retail crazed fiasco rather than a time to remember the God who became Man to rescue a fallen world.
We've forgotten the beautiful, life-giving story behind the season.
This year He's breaking it down even further for me. Not because it's bad to be surrounded by family and friends on Christmas. No, that is in fact good.
But because He knew my heart needed further refining.
Because in all my efforts to eradicate the materialism from the holiday, somehow I still didn't get it.
I'm still pouting over the external when God says He wants the purify the internal. My motives, my desires, my goals, my dreams. And He loves me enough to make it hard.
So this Christmas is different. Hard even. We miss family and we long for friends. But our hearts find contentment in the one who is our all in all. The one who became flesh and dwelt among us so that we could live a life of hope and joy, glorifying Him as Creator, Sustainer, All-Sufficient One.
So, yes. We are "those people". The ones Christ died for, redeemed, and now uses every means necessary to make us more like Him. And if it takes a little home-sickness to bring me closer to Him, well, I guess I'll take it.
"You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith--more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire--may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 1.6-7
Merry Christmas, everyone!! I hope this Christmas brings you closer to the One it's all about!