Monday morning we roused four kids from their beds and scuttled them out the door back to the toil, crowdedness, and humdrum of school life. There was more than just a little whining.
I get it.
The flip of the calendar from December to January always feels like a harsh turn to me. After being carried in the warm womb of the Christmas season—together, hopeful, expectant, and childlike—January comes like a Scrooge and quickly throws us out onto an icy curb to live “real life” again.
It’s hard on the system.
Loss is hard.
In response, I used to turn to pornography, subconsciously trying to feel better. Today I’m more tempted to stuff the sadness with food or media or work. Or simply to slog forward through the cold, dim normalness until the next big thing…a snow day maybe? Easter? The elusive start of spring?
What are the ways you try to turn from the sadness of loss?
Know this: when we turn to the medications of our age, or even when we rush too quickly from the sadness of loss, we miss something important.
From somewhere within the loss and sadness, Jesus is beckoning us. He invites us to journey forward not by turning our back on the good of the season past, and not by graspingly trying to “keep it alive” now.
But He beckons us instead to place our feet on the ancient and good path of longing.
Paul wrote of this path as “groaning” and “waiting eagerly” (Romans 8:23). The writer of Hebrews spoke of those who continued to “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).
See, everything warm, and bright, and joyous, and beautiful is a glimpse of the Kingdom that awaits us. A foretaste. A promise.
Longing means opening ourselves both to all the good we experience now and to the pain that what we experience now lets us down. Families fight. Water heaters break. Bills come due. December ends, January comes.
On this path, we feel our desire for more than even the best we’ve known—for a form of Christmas where families and friendships are healed,where there’s plenty of room and food for all, where each one is known and loved, and where celebration doesn’t end.
So I’m blogging about Christmas instead of New Year’s resolutions. Because I’m trying to let myself experience all the sweetness and sadness of this season. And I’m inviting you to join me. To join Jesus, really.
When I feel the loss, instead of numbing out, I’m trying to pray, “Christ, at the heart of this, I’m longing for the Kingdom You’re preparing. And I’m longing for You,”—the One whose love I caught a glimpse of in friends and family, whose warmth I sensed in moments of togetherness and remembering, whose joy I tasted in flavors and felt in laughter.
I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.
Remembering what’s ahead,
Josh, keep up the words of encouragement, you are blessed with a great gift!
It was a revelation to me when I understood from Dr Ed Smith of Transformation prayer Ministries that I could release the sadness and feeling of loss to God and let it go out of me. So I have been doing that for years now when I feel it and I am lighter. Lighter emotionally as well as my body weight because I no longer am turning to self-medicate with food. Thank you josh for acknowledging what most people want to overlook: the hidden feelings that push us. Praise God.
Excellent post as always Josh. Thanks.
This is good insight. Thanks for putting it out there!
This is good stuff, Josh. Thank you. I plan to pass it on to my dear ones who have just quite smoking on January 1st.