“Hey! How are you?”
It was the generic question that we all throw out to passersby. However, my friend offered back a response that stopped me in my tracks. “Honestly, not great…”
We stood for a moment and chatted. I shared how grateful I was that they gave me an honest answer. They could have said “pretty good” and kept going, heart still heavy. But vulnerability in healthy spaces creates community and invites others in to help us carry the weight. I pray they walked away a little lighter.
The reality is that this season isn’t always ribbons and bows, silver and gold, light and lifegiving. Christmas can be hard, dark, and a season of mourning. How many of us are pretending to be “pretty good” when we’re “honestly, not great”? What do we do when our Christmas isn’t exactly merry?
Do you know what Christmas color isn’t actually a happy color? Red.
There is a famous painting that is basically a giant red canvas which seems easy to take in or pass over. Yet, the artist's intent is that you stand up close to the canvas and be consumed by the red.
We can tend to look at our emotions this time of year like that giant red canvas; something we can take in at a distance but don’t actually have time to get up close and personal with. However, God, as the artist of emotion, intended for us to encounter the canvas of our Christmas and see what’s really below the surface.
Dare to get close enough to see the brush strokes God is taking to create a masterpiece within a situation. Sit in grief. Mourn. Move on in joy. Rejoice.
I know you see red, feel red, and want to pass it by. However, take it all in with the God who is painting the big picture. The intent of the artist of your life is for you to draw uncomfortably close this Christmas.
Will you dare to walk with God to the edge of your emotion? What’s below the surface? Ask God what to do with your feelings, the good and the bad, as they arise.
Bundle up and go sit outside for just a moment. Take a deep breath and be silent. What do you hear? What do you see? How do you feel? Reach out to a trusted friend, counselor or mentor to process it all.
If you’re ready to do December differently and really live out the intent behind Advent, jump into our Advent series over on the “Miracle in the Mess” podcast. We’re serving up on-the-go devotionals in just 5 minutes or less. Go a minute? Let’s dive in!
Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, Bible teacher, speaker, and worship leader. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to three little girls, Lina, Lili and Ceci. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.