Since moving to Arizona, the holidays have always had a tinge of sadness for me. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not “home”, because there isn’t snow to get me in the spirit, because 70 degree weather doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. (Because I love those freezing cold nights with hot chocolate, a fire going, me covered blankets galore with a great books.) Or maybe the sadness is something else altogether.
I’m fond of the lament. I guess because it feels more real to me than… well, not lamenting. I know people who force a positive attitude on themselves and others, and while I appreciate the idea that if we act happy, perhaps we will become happy… I believe there is a time for sadness. For lament. (There is a whole book in the Bible about it, so I’m thinking I can’t be the only one who feels this way.)
I’ve had a tough couple of years. For a variety of reasons. I’m no Job, but I’ve been through a lot in ’14 and ’15 and I’m about to go through a lot more in 2016. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve hurt others a lot. I’ve been hurt a lot. Anyone who’s brave and out there living has probably gone through similar things. I’ve taken some risks I’ve never would’ve taken before. I’ve tried really hard not to numb the bad feelings so that the good ones would feel all the more sweet. I’ve loved and lost. It’s been really hard.
So while the rest of the world is getting caught up in the joy of Christmas right now, spending time putting up their trees and baking cookies and belting out Christmas songs, I’m not. I’m holding out a little this year. I’m choosing to honor advent. Waiting. Anticipation. And with this, both hope and sadness are realities. The tension is created because we hope… but we are uncertain. We are thankful for Jesus, but we don’t know when he is returning to make it all right.
We long to glimpse the beauty of what it will be like when he makes all things new. We live in the brokenness all around us… In us. We feel the weight of this “not yet”, this imperfection. It makes us long for and hope for something better.
And so… we wait.
I never thought I would like the chipmunks song more than I already do. but this version is how I think it was meant to be sung.