Come Together: On Celebration & Mourning

There is a lot happening right now, lots of emotions swirling around.

Some people are anxious and terrified of coronavirus. Some people are angry and infuriated by systemic racism in our country. Some people are sad, some people are mad, some people are feeling both, some people are feeling neither.

Responding to both the pandemic and heightened racism is a lot for me to process.

I feel anxious and overwhelmed regarding the pandemic. I feel a righteous anger and undeniably upset about white supremacy.

I believe there is a divine mingling between joy and sorrow.

Growing up, I used to think I had to be happy all of the time. I used to think sadness, anger, anxiety, etc. were bad emotions. But through plenty of therapy and many life lessons, I have come to appreciate my feelings–all of them and for all reasons and seasons.

Maybe it is because of my mood disorder, or maybe it’s just because I am a human, but sometimes in the sweetest of moments I cannot neglect a feeling of sadness and melancholy, too.

For example, leaving my adult job and starting a position at the climbing gym was perhaps the most bold and bittersweet decision I have made to date. I was excited to try something new, to pursue a passion, to leave a toxic situation. But at the same time, I was sad to leave familiarity, to close a chapter, to end an era.

These days, I think there almost has to be some bitterness simultaneously mixed in with sweetness. We cannot fully appreciate the highest of highs without experiencing the lowest of lows. We cannot feel pure delight without knowing utter sorrow.

Will you celebrate and mourn with me?

Advent is a season of hope and expectation: hoping and expecting a Savior to be born, hoping and expecting a King. But it is also a time of longing and craving: longing and craving our Savior to return; longing and craving peace on earth as it is in heaven.

The holiday season can be a time of joy and celebration, but also a time we miss a loved one’s face at the dinner table or around the Christmas tree.

I hope you feel delight in this season, I hope you feel peace and excitement. But if you do not, or if you do not entirely, I hope you know it’s ok to feel sadness, too. It’s ok to feel anxious and to struggle.

Let’s come together. Let’s build each other up, not break each other down. Let’s mend our hearts, heal our pains, and celebrate and mourn together.

A Thrill Of Hope: Christ Is Bigger Than Our Brokenness

This can be a hard time of year for some.

It may be the first year someone is celebrating without a mom, dad, sister, brother, friend. It may be the first year someone is struggling with cancer or a new diagnosis.

It’s at this time of year I try my best not to forget those who may be broken. It’s this time of year I do my best to remember those with heavy hearts and sad songs.

Christ is bigger than our brokenness.

When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was utterly devastated. My world shattered and I no longer knew who I was.

It took nearly a year of battling on-and-off depression and trying to gauge my moods and medicines to feel normal, whole and well.

Some days I still feel absolutely wrecked — I remember dreams that simply will not come true, I remember friendships that will never be the same.

Yet, Christ came and met me in the darkest valley. He walked alongside me to the mountain top.

And thank God that He was gracious enough to give us this wholly human, wholly divine version of himself in the form of this tiny, humble baby.

“A thrill of hope.”

That’s what the hymn “O Holy Night” calls the Savior’s birth. It says “the weary world rejoices.”

I feel absolutely blessed to be able to have a thrill of hope to celebrate, to expect, to cherish during this time of year. A time of year that can be so joyful yet so somber.

A time of year that can be heart breaking and life giving.

Dear friends, please remember Jesus is greater than your brokenness.

Don’t be afraid to let him enter in, to calm your spirit and soothe your soul. Don’t be afraid to kneel at his feet, to petition and plea and pray for more, for better, for goodness. For a happier, fuller, more lively 2018 than 2017. For peace on earth and goodwill toward men.