The Surefire Way to Give Meaning This Christmas

I wish I felt full of the season, but I find in getting older, the magic I once believed in with my whole heart is more prophetic mystery expanding inside me.

This beautiful morning I have been yearning for Christmas to ignite my soul like a bonfire. I want it to take away my voice’s edge and banish the petty annoyances of shoe and salt-printed floors and everyone not doing what I want them to do when I want them to do it. Who am I kidding anyway?

If you were sitting in this kitchen with me, friend, we’d warm ourselves with truth and trust. Because believing in Christ is pouring hot cups of faith I don’t understand fully or quite know how to live, stirring in rich white pure words in black night coffee, serving it up for the both of us, and telling ourselves who we truly are.

This is the gift of life I can give: cool, rich meaning tempering a hot cup of hope. A gift I can give because it’s one I’ve also received in times I have completely lost the true, beautiful me. The sacred life Christ carefully placed in my heart at seven years old gets swallowed up by imperfection and doubt.

This table is where a child recoiled when I said, “You are more than a silly grade on a report card.” In grownup language, that might be something like, “You are more than your people-pleasing and hustle.” You are more than your stuff and your striving or your great intellect and your powering-through.

It’s never easy to hear the things we long to get our worth from will never truly fulfill. Yet truths like these are the gift we long for and can never have too many of.

Today I need someone to tell me who I am, like so many times before. To tell me it’s O.K. if all my bows don’t get tied and every dream fulfilled. To tell me beauty and connection still comes in spaces filled with lonely and longing.

I’m thankful for both friends and strangers like a guy named Tyler who once told me I was more than just a mom. There have been a myriad of voices continually beckoning me back to the table where we sit now in this rather open, personal history.

There’s a photo next to me on the table, our first official Christmas family photo. I look at this snapshot and wonder, “Who was that grinning twenty-something?” She looks incredibly happy with an adorable seven -month old who had recently started sleeping through the night. Remembering that exciting season of life seems a lifetime ago, but it might as well have been yesterday. Eleven years past.

I see the curls in that young mom’s hair, the sparkle in her earrings, the laughter at the corner of her eyes and upturned cheeks, and I want to tell her, “Your heart is a force to be reckoned with. Your feelings are the fount of your giving. You are worth more than the world to everyone around you and to Jesus.”

Because behind that smile was a woman struggling so deeply. A woman who needed friends and coffee and light, and they came, over years and through tears. Life broke through like dawn every single day. And now that woman has grown a thankful heart,

For every friend who saw her.

For every heart who embraced her brokenness.

For every question asked.

For every front door opened, desperate text and email answered, late night phone call unignored.

For every word spoken, reminding her she belonged as a unique and treasured soul.

For every strength stirred into her cold cup and warmed with Christ Himself, mysterious.

These were the very acts of love and grace telling her who she was then. They tell her who she is now, in the chill and desire for lasting meaning.

Tell someone who they are. Don’t buy them another gift unless it is bought with all you can give. Give with the great mystery of life expanding inside you, like this candle and coffee shared through words and web. Share it with anyone who will listen and anyone who won’t (because God knows we all need it, no matter):

You are more loved than you know. I see you in this moment. I see your beauty and your hope and it is so beautiful. So beautiful.

That is the surefire way to give meaning any day of the year.

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December 20, 2016