Your Christmas Present Will Become Your Christmas Past

My Christmas present was filled with hurt and an uncertain future. On the outside, it looked like a normal present, wrapped in a respectable bow, and put in a familiar setting. Nice Christian marriage, newborn baby, and the outside of the box looked oh-so-great.

The secret was inside the box, waiting to be unwrapped: My marriage was ending, my child’s future was uncertain, my heart was shattered. That was my Christmas present twenty seven years ago. (Skip the math, OK?  :) That’ll be your Christmas present to me. )

Christmas Present seemed like Christmas Forever. I think you know what that’s like. When you learn about your husband’s adultery, the preoccupation with his sin and your pain is like a huge gauze that you see everything through. Nothing seems real; everything’s one big Salvador Dali painting.  It’s distorted and scary– but does it ever end?
Putting the Present and Past in Perspective
I had another experience, years later, that helped me put this all in perspective. While walking to a class one night I slipped and broke my foot. I was stunned, unable to move, and because there was no one nearby who could help me, in a very lonely place.  Once someone finally discovered me and got me to the emergency room, the pain set in like a flood.  Reality dawned: My anger set in over having to go through all of this. Above all there was my helplessness. I couldn’t walk, move or function normally. I lived my life in a limp. It seemed like I’d be a pain-ridden, helpless mess forever!

It’s sometimes easier to understand our emotions when we compare them to injuries we’ve had physically.  First a stunning break, then surgery (taking practical steps to facilitate the healing process) and physical rehab (training or re-learning how to navigate relationships in a healthy way) and a long recovery (discipline and endurance). Patience?  I had no choice but to learn.  And humility, because so many kind people came alongside me to help.  And most of all faith, because I learned the character of Jesus. I know forever He who will never leave nor forsake me; His thoughts towards me are good and not evil and His plans are to give me hope and a future.  This assurance is more precious than gold. 

Past Hurts, Present Healing
Years later, I still have a visible scar reminding me not only of my injury, but also of the healing that took place.  And although the emotional scars have faded, the pain I felt in the present gave way to healing and it is in the past.  That is a testament to Jesus’ love and faithfulness and because of Him, I no longer live my life in a limp.

So what’s inside your box this Christmas? Something awful, that will pull out the best in you if you let it?  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.   He foreknew what you’d be going through, He sees you right now in all your pain and confusion, and He sees the fruit of His completed, healing work in You. 

This is the story of the Christmas Present–

“Long lay the world in pain and error pining,
 ‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth”

This Christmas, may you know Emmanuel, God with you-past, present and future-and may you know your infinite worth to Him. -R

Comments

  1. thank you for this entry. my circumstances of divorce are similiar and you describe the process very well. God did and does know what we are going through. He knew it was coming and has put people and situations in place to carry me and my children through it. He has been around every corner. you put words to much of what I have felt. thanks.

  2. I am in the process of healing and rebuilding my marriage and myself and it’s pretty hard work. I hate it sometimes! But I think this post is encouraging. Already I can look back and see how God has helped me, but sometimes I get really down. Some days it seems like my husband is not thinking of me, just himself. Some days, I just want to “quit him”.

    Your post saying Jesus won’t quit me (and my husband!) helps… maybe I can hang in there a litte longer. Merry Christmas!

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