For When Christmas Comes Up Empty

MangerThe stress of the week had left me empty, had drained me dry. Work challenges, family challenges, and holiday pressures had taken their toll.

Desperate for peace and joy I retreated to the nursery to rock my daughter to sleep for nap time.

With Promise sleeping soundly in my arms I opened the playlist on my phone and scanned my albums for music to bring back the spirit of Christmas. For me, this music is found yearly on Michael W. Smith’s album: Christmastime.

Somehow it never truly feels like Christmas to me until I set aside a sacred time to still, and slow, and listen. To let this music stir in me the feelings of snow and warmth. Of family and coming home. Of worship. Of Christmas.

And on this rocky Thursday morning, with tension filling every room of the house. With stress running rampant and discouragement decking the halls, I needed this balm. These tidings of great, great joy.

 

“Fragile finger sent to heal us,

Tender brow prepared for thorn

Tiny heart whose blood will save us,

Unto us is born

Unto us is born”

 

As the lyrics from Welcome to Our World fell over me and the sleeping babe in my arms, I found myself overwhelmed with how much I need Him. With how much my family, my household, this crazy, smoldering world needs Him. How we all need Him to come and fill not just the manger but all the empty, the lost, the broken.

Christmas, it brings with it so much joy and yet there is always this beautiful ache. This ache for Him to fulfill all we truly long for. 

The manger so long ago was such an unlikely place for a Savior King to fill. And yet He did. He came in the most unlikely way to the most unlikely place and even so fulfilled every need, every ache of the world. 

And this is what He continues to do. And this is what we celebrate. This is what we need at Christmas and every day of the year. For Him to come and fill the manger of our hearts, our homes, our lives.

Anything, anywhere can be a manger if we but open for Him. Make room for Him to come. If we stop being so afraid of the empty, afraid of the ache and go to Him ready and waiting and asking of Him, “Lord, please just come.”

The only time Christmas comes up empty is when we look to lesser things to fill our greatest ache. 

And the best way to remain full this holiday season is to remember the truth of Christmas. To remember the baby who filled the manger, who filled the empty, the open, the cracks in all this broken world. 

My daughter expressed it perfectly this week while listening to an instrumental version of Away in The Manger. “This song reminds me of baby Jesus,” she said. “And when I hear it all I want to do is pick him up and hold him in my arms and love him forever.”

So simple. So profound. So very full of Christmas.

Sweet friends, may your heart, your home, your life be full with Him this holiday season.

When all else leaves you empty may you remember Baby Jesus, may you hold him close to your heart, love him forever, and let your manger be filled with Him.

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