by Connie Wooldridge
Merry Christmas! Joy to the world! Happy holidays.
Happy greetings blend with all the smiling snowmen, sparkling tinsel, laughing Santa’s, and shining stars.
Hey, I am a preacher; my call is to spread the Good News. Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Epiphany—these days, I am supposed to shine, right? And yet—these days can be extremely difficult.
Life is hard, and for my family, a lot of the hard stuff happened around this time of year. We have endured fires, surgeries, deaths, and more. Sometimes I am well into the season before I realize what the pressure is all about. It is not just that I have much to do; I find myself picking up and carrying some heavy emotional baggage.
I can relate to the Psalmist’s cry in Psalm 69, “Save me, God, because the waters have reached my neck! I have sunk into deep mud. My feet can’t touch the bottom! I have entered deep water; the flood has swept me up. I am tired of crying. My throat is hoarse. My eyes are exhausted with waiting for my God.”
Maybe you know the feeling as well. Be encouraged. The Psalmist doesn’t leave it there. Even as he enumerates his complaints, he begins recognizing God’s faithfulness. “My prayer reaches you, Lord, just at the right time. God, in your great and faithful love, answer me with your certain salvation!” I don’t believe he is feeling it but is acknowledging what he believes to be true. It is his stronghold in the swirling waters. I, too, cling to the stronghold of God’s faithfulness and love.
Before he is finished, the Psalmist’s words turn to songs of praise and thanksgiving despite the struggles. Our faith enables us to cry out in anguish because God loves us enough to receive it. I believe that as we lay our baggage, spiritual, emotional, and physical, before the throne of God, our load will be lightened, and the praise will find space in our hearts.
If you can relate, I invite you to join me on Dec. 21st at 7:00 p.m. at 426 N. Sheeran Ave. in Chapman for Blue Christmas. We will recognize and give space for all we carry this holiday season.