“I’m getting a divorce.” She whispered it; her voice cracking under the weight of what that sentence held. She could barely contain the sob that followed. It’s a week before Christmas and her family is broken.
I watched a funeral procession go by today. There were dozens of cars following the hearse and two limos. Obviously, someone who was well loved and valued in this life is being laid to rest today- a week before Christmas. That family will never be the same. Their Christmas is broken.
It’s been 19 months since Emma died. She was only 15. Her parents are experiencing yet another broken Christmas. There is no getting around it. The family table is missing someone. Time does not heal all wounds. Christmas is broken.
In Peshawar, Pakistan hundreds of families are burying their children today. Mourning. Wailing. Scars that will never heal. Trauma that is too painful to relive. Fear. Jesus, come quickly. Broken. So broken.
It was 2 years ago this week that a madman ripped bullets through tiny bodies in small town America. Tiny lives obliterated. Broken families. Broken lives. Broken school. Broken nation.
Michael Brown‘s mother is a broken woman. And because her son was shot down, her city and country are broken too. Politics aside- these people will never be the same again.
In Ottawa this Christmas, Nathan Cirillo’s young son will have to unwrap presents without his daddy. He will never have another Christmas with his dad. His family is broken. These lives are broken. Our world is broken.
I could go on all day. Every week there are more horror stories. Sydney, Australia. Seattle, Washington. Portland, Oregon. Calgary, Alberta. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The family of Donald and Shirley Parkinson in Unity, SK…..I knew Shirley. She was a light in the community. A light that was tragically and violently snuffed out at the hands of her own husband. And now her daughters are left with this legacy of brokenness and unanswered questions.
It would be nice to say “Merry Christmas” and be completely oblivious to the world around us. But that would be lying. The fact is, more of us are broken at Christmas than whole. And I’m here to tell you that’s okay. In fact, your brokenness is exactly why Jesus came. Your brokenness is the dirty, filthy stable. Your brokenness is a manger made for feeding animals, not for a King. But Jesus will come anyway. He will come and He will stay and He will cry IN your brokenness, WITH you. Because Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us.
We have to put away this notion of a perfectly decorated tree, perfectly adorned houses, perfectly wrapped gifts, perfectly planned meals and perfectly pretty people. Jesus didn’t come for any of that. And actually, it’s quite offensive. If your world is so perfect and sanitized then you have no need or room for Jesus. You are simply the Innkeeper telling Jesus to move along because there is no room for Him. That concept shocks and scares me. I don’t want perfection to the point where I have no room for Him in my life, in my home, in my family or in my brokenness. I would rather take all the sad, scary, horribleness WITH Jesus, than perfection without Him.
Mark 8:34-37 (MSG) Jesus says…..
Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?
Even Mary, who was so young and so unprepared for what her life would be like, knew that the coming of Jesus was not for the free and the satisfied, but for the oppressed and the soul-crushed. Her words are powerful…these words that she uttered from deep within her spirit knowing that soon she would bear a son who would save her people.
Mary’s Song(Luke 1)
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
My husband and I had one of those epic, smackdown fights last night that don’t happen often but really shake us to our core. We are so imperfect and prideful. We lash out in defense of our own agendas. None of it is even important. But we made it more important than anything else. We’re broken.
We have four children but we rarely see or speak to one of them. Broken.
For a couple of years we have had little to no contact with my inlaws. Deep wounds. Toxic, painful memories. Dysfunctional relationships. So broken; all of us.
Money troubles, relationship troubles, family issues, job worries, houses in need of repair, unfinished tasks, assignments overdue, marks falling, everyone failing. Struggling. Barely existing. Trying too hard to get no where.
If this sounds familiar, you’re in the right place. The Saviour is coming. He is on his way to find a place to be born. Is your heart ready? Is it open? Christmas Day is a week away but Jesus is born every day in the hearts of mankind. All we have to say is “yes Lord, I’m broken. Come and fill me. Come heal me. Come live in my brokenness.”
The woman who is getting a divorce….I didn’t know what to say. I choked back the tears as they started to fall. There is nothing I can say. Her words were amazingly poignant, ” there is nothing to say- just pray. Pray, pray pray.”
All I want for Christmas is to be broken enough to be the stable and not the Inn.
Merry Broken Christmas.