His Life Brought Light to Everyone

 It happens every year, but this year it seems like a rampant disease. The Christmas to-do lists, pressure, exhaustion, and anxiety. Getting “ready” for Christmas has become less about preparing our hearts and WAY more about preparing for duties, responsibilities and trying to stuff-down all of our raw emotions so we can smile along to just one more Christmas carol. We are focused on making sure everything gets bought, wrapped, baked, cleaned, and sent. Not to mention that this year has been jam-packed with even more unexpected and anxiety-charged circumstances than normal.

“I’m burned out,” I’ve heard many women mutter. It’s as if someone has taken a high-powered vacuum and sucked the life out of us all.

On the contrary, Christmas is all about celebrating new life. It’s all about welcoming a life that changed the world. Our hearts were designed to celebrate this one life that brought light into the world for all.

In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.

John 1:4-5 CSB

We’re all so overwhelmed, so busy, and so on the verge of breaking with no time to stop and reflect. This year, in the midst of chaos, I have been asking Jesus to remind me that I am His daughter. I have been sitting at His feet asking him to remind me that I am free .Because of His miraculous birth, life, death, and resurrection – I am free. I am free from pressures, judgements, and expectations. I am free from my tendencies to worship perfectionism and performance. I am free from the dark entanglement of anxiety, pressure, and panic. Because of Jesus I am divorced from the sweet, yet tempting lie, that His love is based on what I’ve done. Because He entered the world, I am separated from the false comfort that anxiety brings- I don’t have to hide anymore or overthink anymore or stress anymore. I already know what He thinks of me: I am His daughter.

I can burn my to-do lists and I can smash the stack of bricks weighing me down. I can rest in knowing that He died to set me free from all of those messes. I can sigh deep and celebrate that He came to earth through a woman- a woman who was ushered into a season of letting go and trusting. Mary had an unshakable faith in God’s plan. Because of her willingness to obey and lay down her reservations, God used her in an unfathomable way: She gave birth to the savior of the world.

I can celebrate His birth and life this Christmas. My heart is brimming over with thankfulness for the precious gift of salvation made available to all. He Brings me life and hope. Because He was born, I can rejoice.

All too often, though, I have one piece of my heart nestled in the arms of Jesus and the other piece trying desperately to cling to the false comforts of the world. I know the truth, but sometimes it is scary to fully believe, submit and let it change me.

 Here’s the thing, though- I am not interested in a life that isn’t fully submitted. The concept of knowing about the life-changing love and grace of Jesus, but not letting it penetrate deep enough into my heart to radically change my life, terrifies and altogether disgusts me.

It’s not enough to simply know and hear about the Christmas story. It’s not enough to simply know the stories of His life and death. It’s not enough if a marvellous transformation has not taken place in our lives.

I want those truths to change me to the core and completely uproot the life I think I can build in my own efforts. I want the unexplainable and completely unmerited compassion, grace and mercy to hit me like a freight train and remold my whole life. I’m not interested in a cute, pretty telling of His life and birth- I want the whole radical truth of who He is and what He’s done-overflowing into all that I do.

We have been born into a new life that cannot be destroyed or corrupted and can’t fade away.

1 Peter 1:4

The wild, unrestricted love of God is not simply an inspiring idea. When it imposes itself on mind and heart with the stark reality of ontological truth, it determines why and at what time you get up in the morning, how you pass your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, and who you hang with; it affects what breaks your heart, what amazes you, and what makes your heart happy.

Brennan Manning

So with that, I challenge you this Christmas, and at the same time I challenge myself, to not crumble under the unrealistic pressures and expectations of this season.

Instead, let’s breathe deeply of the peace that He brings and sing loudly about His remarkable birth that has freed us all. 

Wife to Simon and mama to Theodore Samuel. Hannah began her walk with Christ at age 17 and He is radically reshaping her world daily. She find so much joy in coffee cup conversations with other women at her home, serving alongside her husband at our church’s middle/high school youth group, exploring new cities, cozy days with a book, decorating/reorganizing, filling journals with brightly-colored pens, hand-writing notes on pretty stationary and time at the beach.