Here's the thing about this week:
Sometimes wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" is like asking, "How are you?" in passing without ever stoping to really hear the "how" part.
You know them—those "How are you?" greetings. The ones that leave you heaving up a heaping mess—the ones that pull your strings only to let the yarn unravel a looping mess, twisting and knotting everything in sight, with no one lingering, no one to listen how, really, you are doing.
The problem, sometimes, with "Merry Christmas" is that it's only ever been a command, but never a question. It has only ever been a hope and a sincere wish, but never a conversation, never the standing still long enough for the deep heart tugging to listen to a soul in need, in want, in hurt, in hope.
Always a greeting. Never a listening.
The wondering and the waiting around for a heart-full answer, a response of some sort—the honest kind the paints stories filled with grace and pain and poverty and heartache—every kind of heartbreak, right outside your door, behind the cash register, at the red light.
Behind the smile of the face hearing your holiday greeting is a mother bearing the weight of her child's diagnosis. Or the persevering husband caring for his wife who cannot, for the love of God, remember his name. Or the wife grieving the memory of her husband. Or the daughter miles from home, missing the place with the fire cracking and grandma's cherry pie.
So I will make my "Merry Christmas" a question and not some cute command.
I will make it a lingering and not just some wooden sign on the door or embellished script on a pillow.
How are you, this Christmas?
Where in your heart is there hurt?
Where in your heart is there missing?
Who in your family is suffering?
What, in this season, is not so merry?
Spill the bucket of your heart by the galloons. Let the good out—and the sweeping hurt out, too. And I am listening. Not bustling out the door, hurrying home to wrap gifts. Not baking, not sweeping the floor. Just here. To listen—to listen hard and good and long.
And then, and only then, to remind you of the babe and why he even came and why we sing the songs and light the trees and wrap the boxes and hug the world a little tighter.
Because he was a miracle come to bring miracles into this world.
And you, my friend, your Christmas - be it merry or not.
There will be miracles.
Of joy. Of salvation. Of goodness. Of comfort. Of Him and His hereness.
And we WILL adore Him.
. . .
I'll meet you on my blog in the comments here
to hear how your heart is doing this Christmas.
. . .