We hope this finds each of you in a season of great joy and with a growing hope for what he might have in mind for you in 2023.
Sara and I are celebrating a great redemption in our lives as this year comes to an end. Against all odds, God delivered us from certain tragedy and set our feet in a new place that delights our hearts with joy. When last year began, I had no idea in four months’ time, I would confront the worst tragedy of my life, and six months later, I would find myself in more joy than I could contain. I can only imagine what this Christmas would have been like for us if God had not rescued my wife and restored our relationship.
So, our hearts go out to those for whom these days are painful and lonely. For reasons I’ll explain more later, we are discovering that God can seem more present in our sufferings than he does in our delight. What’s more, it is easier to probe his heart and our own in the fellowship of suffering than we can when all is well.
So, if your heart is joyful this season, celebrate with abandon.
If your heart is heavy, lean into a Father and a Savior who know your grief better than anyone. Please don’t repress it, stuff it down in a box, or pretend to make others around you feel more comfortable. Instead, hold your pain with Jesus. Let his presence find you in your grief or anguish. There is no pain or trauma so immense that he cannot hold it with you and be your Way through it.
Remember, the story of Jesus’ birth was not just angels singing to shepherds or wise men bringing expensive gifts; it also included the fears of a young maiden far from home, giving birth in a stable, and the murder of innocent two-year-olds by a paranoid king.
Emmanuel—God with us—means he is with you, especially in the chaos of a broken Creation. He is your light in the darkness, your refuge in times of trouble, and the safest lap in the universe to fall into. He can turn your mourning into joy, but that rarely comes quickly or easily. Unfortunately, Christmas Day doesn’t coincide with our personal seasons of joy.
So if you’re feeling lost and alone this season, embrace this reality: You are deeply loved by the Father who created you, and you are not alone even when you most feel like it. There is a presence in you that he wants to teach you to tap into and find your comfort and courage when things look bleakest.
And please don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend and ask them for the help and encouragement you need. We weren’t meant to bear the dark roads by ourselves.
So wherever this season finds you on your journey, honor what’s going on in your heart and mind. And we pray that Jesus will be born afresh in you, and it will give you hope.
Wayne and Sara
20 thoughts on “When Christmas Doesn’t Find You Joyful”
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Thank you and Sarah for sharing your lives with the body. !!! What a blessing May many hear and be given faith to reach out to God for healing and comfort.
That’s why Sara wanted to tell our story. If she hadn’t, we wouldn’t have.
Thank you Wayne $ Sara for your willingness to share the good, the bad & the ugly, as well as the reality of Immanuel. We rejoice with you in your new found joy & continue to hold faith for Father’s transformative grace in in own lives.
Many blessings to you for a wonderful celebratory session.
Doug & Jo. XX
Thank you so much.
Thanks for this Wayne.
I’m one of those who find themselves in the second group mentioned. Just recently separated from my wife. Lonely and angry times.
This email was so honest and real. Just what I needed on this snowy afternoon. Encouragement to just be and not pretend.
Anyway, thanks for your real encouragement Wayne. So timely!
Thanks for writing, Dave. I’m so sorry for the pain in your marriage and the sense of aloneness you feel. I wrote that for people like you. I experienced three weeks of that this spring and it was horrible. I know God can carry you through. If you want to talk, please get in touch.
This touched my tired heart this evening…thank you my friend.❤
Love that it did. You’re on quite a journey and the fruit of it will be extraordinary. The journey is always the tough part… Hang in there, Monica. The darkness will give way to the light! Always does. It has to.
Thank you – so timely!
You’re welcome. Glad it was.
Hi Sara and Wayne…nice reading you again..Merry Christmas to you and your family..thanks for your words..I thought I’d stay alone with Him in the 24 night but He gave me friends to share His joy being among us..His people…wish you happyness and joy..God bless you
Thanks, Monica. I’m so glad you have friends to share with.
Thank you for sharing your life, your challenges, and the joys in your journey. I just read this earlier: “I am more comfortable with the language of human effort and anxiety than I am with the language of trust.” (P. 166 of He Loves Me) Nailed me! Thank you both for continually sharing what it is to live loved in every season of life. I pray big blessings on you two this Christmas. Barbie
Thanks for that quote, Barbie. Wow! I couldn’t write that today. Now the language of trust well exceeds my skill at human effort an anxiety. Oh what God has done!
This is beautiful Wayne..thank you..recently lost my 94 year old Mom, after losing my 95 year old Pop in March. 1st Christmas in 69 years without them..so thankful for their awesome lives yet feeling a hole in my heart tonight. Jumping into that safest lap..thanks for sharing your heart and being so real..God bless you both and Merry Christmas!
I’m sorry for your losses this year, Tim, but you sure got both parents for a long, long time. I pray God comforts your heart and gives you direction and hope in days ahead.
I have celebrated your and Sara’s fabulous outcome in my heart. Then, I breathe in a deep sigh of relief. Father is good and faithful no matter what situation we find ourselves in. Also, with each podcast over the past 6 months, listening to how you two faced each step with courage (even in the messy times), made me swell with pride to know the both of you.
May this year lead you into deeper, richer spaces so the body of Messiah will be encouraged to press on.
Hi Ralaine. Such sweet thoughts. Thank you for expressing them, especially from someone who has had to stand in some pretty dark places with courage yourself. Blessings and love to you today and for the new year.
Ty Wayne… I can’t get enough reminders of Gods love for me
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