Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas Anticipation and Expectation

The following is a testimony from my friend Sara Weber who has graciously agreed to allow me to share her beautiful words. Her testimony moved me greatly and I hope it will move you too.

Enjoy!


For many years now, and I do mean many, I’ve struggled with Christmas.  I’ve longed for the anticipation, excitement and wonder that filled me as a child at this wonderful time of year. Growing up in the late sixties and early seventies Christmas was a big deal…It started the day after Thanksgiving and lasted till after New Year’s.  That’s how my mom did it.  She made Christmas special!  There were Christmas cookies, dozens of them, lights, decorations, music, presents, and of course Santa, everything a child dreams of all year long, but during and in the midst of all this was the underlying knowledge and hope that this wasn’t it.  There was much more to Christmas.  Something that would or should last the whole year long.

As I grew up, I did my best to carry that “tradition” to my own family of children, and I hope I did.  But as the year flew by and my children grew up and were married with families of their own, Christmas was lost to me.  Anticipation and expectation were gone.  Sure Thanksgiving came and decorations went up, cookies were baked, but by mid December I was DONE!!!  Let’s just get this over with!  I was sick to death of hearing Christmas caroles on the radio, well maybe there were a few that still could muster a fond memory or two, but Elvis’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” made me want to  vomit up those Christmas cookies.

After my Mom died 6 years ago it got worse.  I didn’t even want to put up the decorations,  if it weren’t for my Emma, I probably wouldn’t have.  The Christmas Eve my Mom went home to be with Jesus, was the year Bob, Emma and I were in an accident on Interstate 39, going home to be with my sister and brothers for our first Christmas without Mom.  Here is where my journey begins.

As I lay in the hospital that night, with Nancy my daughter, sleeping in the chair next to my bed, I pleaded with God for the wonder and anticipation I felt when I was a child.  That night I had what I think was my very first prophetic dream.  I was seeing the accident, as if I were a spectator.  I saw that very large, very red Mac semi coming right at us and hitting the side of the SUV, the side I happened to be on.  As I watched, 3 angels appeared,  not the glowing  pretty white ones we see on top of our Christmas trees, but three huge strong warrior angels, they were holding back that Mac truck.  The truck did hit the car with a great force, enough to pin my legs to the point of needing to be cut out of the vehicle, but I know that if it were not for those angels I and probably Bob and Emma as well would have surely been celebrating Christmas in heaven with my Mom that year. I always wondered, why three angels?  Later I came to understand that those were our guardian angels. They weren’t just there for me, but for all of us.

Through the course of the next several months, God revealed to me that we, Bob, Emma and myself still had things God needed us to do.  I thought to myself, but You can use anyone, why me?  Jesus lovingly told me that yes indeed He could use anyone, and that He didn’t need me, but He WANTED me.  Even after all this, I still struggled with Christmas!  I must be one of those remedial learners, God has to say, OK, let’s try this again.

So fast forward to this year.  Several months ago I started asking God to circumcise my heart.  To cut out the iniquity in me, the sin nature, to make me Holy even as He is Holy.  He revealed to me that my heart was hard, with many layers, much like a quarry, and He was going to have to dig through them one by one to reveal to me the hurts, forgiveness, and bitterness I had pushed down and paved over time after time for countless years.  I needed to look at them and release them to Him the one who could release me from the bondages they held me in. He told me, “This will be uncomfortable and painful at times, but if you REALLY want what you are asking for it must be done”.  So I pressed forward and gave up the ground I had been holding on to and protecting all of these years.  Heavy equipment was involved and the excavation process had begun.

As He dug down deeper and deeper this Christmas issue came to the surface AGAIN!  He asked me gently, “What is it that you want to do with this?”  My reply was the same.  I want the wonder of Expectation and Anticipation I had when I was a child. He again gently said “And what does that look like to you?”  I said it looked like downtown La Salle, all decorated with red and green lighted  lamp posts,  the lighted garlands that were strung across the streets,  the shops decorated with  tinsel Christmas trees, and snow! Yes, there had to be snow!  He smiled at me and began to dig again.  He quietly asked me, “Is that REALLY what you want? or do you want MY wonder, expectation and anticipation?”  I reluctantly said “I want what You have for me.”  As I laid down MY desires for His, He showed me as He spoke to me.  ” What you desire does not come from these memories, they are wonderful memories and I don’t want you to forget them, they are part of you. What you really want is the Wonder the shepherds had on the night I gave Myself to be born a human.  Those shepherds, had lost hope too.  The Father had been silent for four hundred years!  Anticipation and expectation was reserved for the most devotedly faithful. They still had a glimmer of hope in the prophetic words of long ago.  But then angels of light broke through the darkest of night and sang a song of HOPE!  Fear not, the Messiah has been born!  GO, see for yourselves.  Worship the new born King!  The king they believed would rescue them from their immediate bondage.

Yes Lord, I know that, but…………Not saying a word, He smiled at me and went back to digging.  As I stood there puzzled I saw it, there in the distance, beyond the manger.  Ultimate love, hope, anticipation!   Stretched out on a cross!  MY Jesus, beaten, bleeding and dying, FOR ME!

As I fell to my knees, He left his digging and came to me.  “You see Sara,  I wanted you to have My very best,  but I couldn’t as long as  you were holding on to your own ideas.  We needed to dig through these layers so you could “see” with your heart what your Mom taught you in your mind.  Before tinsel Christmas trees, before snow,  before the manger, before the first star twinkled in the night sky, before there was light at all, the decision had been made. The Father and I planned it all!  I was to be the HOPE, the ANTICIPATION and the EXPECTATION for you and all mankind.  It is My gift to you, you can’t buy it or deserve it in anyway, You just have to accept it!”

So here I am this Christmas, knowing Jesus has many more layers to dig through to make me Holy as He is holy, but with a new Hope, a new Expectation, and a new  Anticipation.  Now that I’ve seen it I can’t stop seeing it!

As I look back over the last year and remember the messages that have been delivered from this pulpit,  God has prepared my heart to for this moment.  This Christmas holds new meaning for me and I pray that all of us can see beyond the manger to the cross and the hopeful, anticipation of celebrating Christmas with Jesus for all eternity.

Merry Christmas!

I DON’T WANT TO BE DEPRESSED THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS

Depression

I can’t remember not being depressed on one or more holidays in the past 20 years or more. It seemed every time I tried to shake those awful feelings of despair, loneliness and sorrow it would just overtake me. One Christmas my brother called me Scrooge McDuck, that was back in 2009. It was one of the first times since my brother had grown up that we were spending Christmas together and we both were acting like Scrooge McDuck! Thanksgiving was another holiday that always caught me in the grip of depression. No matter whether I providing a meal for my family or spending it with another family that graciously invited me to spend the holiday with them, I was miserable. Yes I smiled and tried to hide my pain but the reality of it all was ~ depression was my best friend.

Depression has been a constant in my life from a very young age. My mother also suffered from depression and for all I know it could have been passed down to me from her.  However, I am sure that the source of my depression was from the deep, hidden wounds that began to build a cement wall around my heart from a young age. It was my way of protecting myself from others or so I thought. It drove me to a place of deep isolation where I was hidden in plain site and yet I was deeply lonely and desperate to reach out to those around me who appeared to be safe yet I couldn’t trust, no one could be trusted in my mind.

On Thursday November 27th, Thanksgiving 2014, somewhere around 4pm it hit me that I was not feeling depressed at all! I was actually quite happy and content. I cooked myself a nice meal of spaghetti, collard greens, corn bread, candied yams and pecan pie. My son was home with me part of the day but we really weren’t interacting much and I was very content with that as well. I started to think about all of the holidays that I’ve spent being sad and depressed. I began to pray about why all these years I ended up in that miry pit of depression. My mindset used to be “today is just another day when everyone else has something to do besides me”. Unfortunately that is what I passed down to my children because we didn’t make our own traditions for the holidays. I didn’t know how to make new traditions with my family because I was so locked inside my own misery. I remember trying to make things different but it would never turn out as planned and at the end of the day I would beat myself up because I had failed again.

I spend some time really pondering this whole dilemma and I think I may have discovered the problem – memories have power! I have some really bad memories from different holidays that I revert to when the holidays approach. I don’t think I was doing it consciously because I could never figure out why I kept falling back into the same pit time after time, year after year. Quite frankly the time from mid-October until the first week of January was usually the time I spent in full blown depression. My doctor called it seasonal depression and put me on medication. Maybe he was right but I think the reality of the depression was more about me re-living the bad memories from my past. One would think that after being away from abuse and living in a safe environment that it would move me to want to create new fun memories with my family. Not me, nope, I succumbed to the feelings and the memories instead.

This year will be different. This year I refuse to allow myself to go back to that pit of seasonal depression that has ruined almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas that I can remember. No way, this year I am going to rejoice in the freedom that I have because my Lord Jesus Christ has picked me up from the miry clay and set my feet on SOLID ground. No more living on shifting sand! No more crying over things I cannot have or control! No more phony smiles hiding my tears! NO MORE! NO MORE!

I praise God Almighty today for the freedom I have found in Christ Jesus! I know that I have had a horrific past that I lived through and there were many ruined Holidays but I don’t have to re-live those memories every single year! I will press forward and renew my mind through the reading of the Word of God, the Bible, every day! I will pray and sing praises to Jesus for all He has done for me and YOU! I will find ways to be there for people who are still struggling with the pit of depression and I pray God will use me to speak joy and peace and love into their lives. I will walk boldly with my head held high knowing I have peace within because of the Holy Spirit that resides in me. No more depressed Holidays for me. Thanksgiving 2014 was just the beginning!

Philippians 3:13-14

 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Psalm 40:1-2

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

How may I pray for you today? Please go to my prayer page and send me a request. God bless you and thank you for reading my blog!

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”