Whew. This has been a rather unorthodox blog series. First—it’s about a topic no one really likes talking about, and second—I wrote it backwards. (hold on, you’ll see). Thank you for sticking with me to the end, this is the final entry for this series and the last post for 2017. This whole series of posts has been about Finding Christmas in the midst of a changing family, but this particular one today has been burning in my heart since I first prayed the prayer for peace at Thanksgiving. Yep. And I had NO IDEA the gifts God would unfold in this process.
We’ve talked about loosing loved ones to death and struggling to find home after divorce. We’ve chatted about feeling all the feels and facing all the fears. And in my Friday Friends Live Facebook we briefly covered 3 things needed to find Christmas. 1. Feel the Feels, 2. Be Intentional, and 3. Find your why. But I now confess, I foolishly thought this third post would be about how Jesus is the real reason for the season.
But you see, we already knew that.
What if Christmas is less about celebration and more about circulation? What if it’s not only an annual passing of the rights to family recipes or heirloom traditions, but is more about the transmission of Heaven’s abundance?
I want to revisit the concept of Intention. But not just the Webster’s definition of the word, I want to look at the medical definition of Intention. It is defined as the healing process of an incised wound by the direct union of skin edges, or by granulations, that bridge the gap between skin edges.
I totally stumbled on that definition last week and it has undone everything I thought about Christmas. We think of Christmas and Baby Jesus. We think of a pregnant mother, a baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and all that cuteness right there in the hay.
But it’s more than that.
Jesus (God the Son) came intentionally to you and me. He specifically came into our painful existence—not just to heal it, but to experience it with us. He felt all the things we feel. Jesus walked through skinned knees, estranged relatives, disputes on the playground. He overheard marital spats and buried grandparents. Jesus felt the sting, the intense sting, of rejection and became accutely familiar with loss and heart ache. He knows what it feels like to lose home. And He did not shy away from our pain, not for one second.
He felt all the feels.
Jesus intentionally sought a way to ensure our connection would last for eternity. He didn’t just feel the feels, He got intentional about them. Despite false accusations and the jarring rejection of his own people, He chose to climb a hill with a cross on His back and thorns in His head just to make sure that whatever could possibly one day come between us was made right. He endured a torturous momentary separation from God in order to seal our adoption into His home forever.
He was intentional about you.
You see, there’s a whole lot wrapped up in those swaddling clothes. It’s not just a cute baby surrounded by fuzzy barn animals. What was in that manger was your wound’s union, the bridging gap between your torn-apart edges. Christmas is about God’s intent towards you.
If intention means purposeful action and is a healing process, look again at Isaiah 61:1-7.
Jesus came with the purposeful intent to: Bind up wounds, proclaim freedom, release from darkness, comfort those who mourn, provide for those who grieve and bestow on them (us) a crown.
So that our wholeness, our healing, can look like a display of Holy Splendor. Where we can rebuild ancient ruins and restore places long since devastated.
His intention makes us whole, Shalom.
So when we pray “For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, peace be within.” We aren’t praying for peace to come like snowflakes dusting all of our homes. We are praying for the process of intention to take place in our wounds.
And when He says, “they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations,” He means your home, your promises, your life… you.
This Christmas unwrap the gift of Heaven’s wholeness.