Everything in life is most fundamentally a gift. And you receive it best and you live it best by holding it with very open hands. -Leo O’Donovan
The Christmas season is upon us (already!). The season to give thanks, give gifts, give God glory for all He’s done. For me it’s the season that always brings with it familiarity, sweet memories of the past, and new hopes for the future. I reflect back to where I was and where I am now, how faithful the Lord continues to be.
When I look back on this year I’m truly blown away by the faithfulness of God. His hand has been more evident in this year of my life than ever before. I’ve been able to journal more specific times the Lord has shown up in my life this year, and yet, it’s been the year I experienced more doubt and fear and confusion than ever before. I lost things in my life I never thought I’d lose. Things happened I said would never happen. Gifts that God had given were taken away.
Doesn’t it seem that when the Lord takes away something dear to us we suddenly forget all He’s given? All we see and feel is the emptiness of what once was. We seem to forget there’s so much left. Yet, sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough. And then I’m gently reminded that it will never feel like enough, and it shouldn’t. Because if the vacancy deep in my heart comes from what I’ve lost, then I’ve completely forgotten what I should have been seeking–His face rather than His hand. (Not what he has or hasn’t done for or given me, but who He is)
What a simple concept I’m still learning to grasp. Jesus Himself was the gift. And Jesus Himself is still the gift. We are His. He is ours. And everything else is His. And it’s not until this truth saturates every part of my being that I will truly live an abundant joy-filled life, a life above my circumstances, a life above my gains and losses.
This Christmas season feels the same in a lot of ways, and in other ways is and will be entirely different. The Lord doesn’t expect me to be void of feeling. But He doesn’t desire me to feel void. I’m still learning what that looks like but I do know now what it means. It’s holding everything He’s given me with open hands. For all is His. And He is all.
In Him I have been given more than enough, more than I will ever comprehend in this season, or this lifetime. And once we truly receive that, then nothing that’s taken can ever truly shake us.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. -Job 1:21
Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually. -Psalm 105:4
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. -Psalm 34:5