Christmas Stories: Day 19

Every day ’til Christmas, we’re sharing a story from your family at FN. Would you rather get them straight to your inbox? Click here and choose “Christmas Stories: (Daily Emails Dec 2015).”


Note: Today’s story is a slightly different format. A couple of Sundays ago, Harold talked about hopelessness, and Sarabeth read a story – really, just part of the story. We’re sending that same first part of the story to you today, so that you can catch up if you missed it or refresh your memory. You can also listen to that sermon (including the story) by clicking here. We’ll get to hear the rest of this story this Sunday in church!

My brokenness, His hope.

Hatred. Anger. Fear. Loathing. Sorrow. Sullen. Darkness. Bitter. Fury. Hostility. Pain. Misery. Anguish. Hopelessness. Rage. Abandoned. Desolate. Empty. Cursed.


You can’t find these 20 words glittered, adorned and ready to display on your Christmas mantle. They aren’t beautifully scripted on plaques or woven into door wreaths to welcome family and friends.  They aren’t melodic or hopeful or happy- they aren’t woven into beautiful hymns.

These aren’t the words you want to read in a story about Advent and Christmas. At best, they’re whispered gossip between close friends – about someone else. They are hidden with fake smiles and canned laughter. They are artfully baked into pies and buried in the busyness of the season. Sometimes, they lie just below the surface of a perfectly wrapped gift.

Despair is easy to define: it’s the loss of hope. Brokenness is often a result of despair and all those other ugly words and emotions.

Finding joy amid the normal flow of life is an anomaly. Finding holiday joy amid feelings of loss, despair and anguish are hollow. It’s as if the bells ring out to remind you of your defeat. I’ve struggled with loss during Christmas for 40 years.

I’ve written about it often- because that day shook my foundational beliefs in mercy, grace and God. It was the day I stopped believing. Stopped believing in Santa. Stopped believing in God. Stopped believing in Christmas. Stopped believing in Faith, Hope, Love.

My mom died from a 6-month battle with cancer; on December 12, 1974 to be exact- two weeks before Christmas. She had turned 30 only 10 days earlier.

I was 6.

For me, Christmas is my cued recall of this event. Advent became a countdown, not of hope, but of cruel loss and fury.

I thought when I had my firstborn in November 2001, I would finally be delivered from the anguish. I was even more desolate that Christmas.  It was rote to blame God for continuing my rage, my misery, my despair. These are feelings that a new baby should have delivered me from at Christmas.

The agony continued, magnified by the birth of my second child in December 2004. WHERE IS MY JOY? MY PEACE? WHERE IS MY HOPE? I was still looking for my perfect Christmas.


Today’s story is by…

actually, we’ll tell you Sunday! See you then as we talk about HOPE.

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