The lyrics kept floating through my mind, burrowing a path into my soul.
O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant.
Could that include me? I wish it did, but honestly, I feel more faithless than faithful at the moment. Joyful and triumphant? More like depressed and discouraged.
The holiday season is upon us, and often it feels more overwhelming than we anticipated. This magical time of the year that we sing about and celebrate is not exempt from heartache and pain. Whether we are experiencing something difficult or we are carrying the burden of a friend or family member, these feelings seem more pronounced as we layer them over the backdrop of holiday joy and cheer.
The absence of loved ones can make us feel acutely alone in a room full of people celebrating. The loss and rejection we’ve experienced throughout the year come sneaking up behind us, trying to take both our joy and our breath away.
And now I have to be faithful, joyful and triumphant? Great, I’ll add that to the list somewhere between making Christmas cookies, buying teacher gifts, and cleaning my house for company. It all just feels so exhausting!
But maybe we don’t have to have everything perfectly together before we come. Maybe we don’t have to be faithful or joyful before we come to the feet of Jesus. Perhaps the offer is extended to the exhausted and the weary as well as the triumphant. Could it be that all He’s asking of us is just to come? Exactly as we are?
Come to Jesus with your brokenness and your burnt Christmas cookies. Come to Him in your yoga pants, your old tattered college sweatshirt, your messy ponytail and day two of no shower. Come with your sink full of dirty dishes and kids screaming and clamoring around you. Come with your grief. Come with your loss. Come with your mistakes. Come to Him wherever you are with whatever you have.
It doesn’t matter how you come, just that you do.
Come behold Him.
Come adore Him.
Come worship Him.
And when we do, we discover that our simple act of obedience, our willingness to come to Jesus, changes everything. Like an exchange system where we always come out ahead. We come to Him just as we are, tired and weary, and He gives fresh perspective and renewed strength. We bring our mistakes and our regrets and He brings His grace. We come with our striving and He provides rest.
Don’t be afraid to come to Him today, just as you are. Bring your heart and let Jesus’ love transform you from the inside out. Don’t worry about looking or feeling a certain way before you come–He already sees it all and knows it all. Come to Him just as you are (messy ponytail and all) and you will find that He is faithful to meet you there.
A prayer: Father, I pray that today we would enter into a holy exchange system with you. We bring ourselves, and all the mess that comes with it, in exchange for more of You. More of your love, patience, kindness and peace. Thank you, Father, that we always come out ahead when we spend time in your presence. Amen.