I love bright sunny spring days. The touch of the warm sun on my ever-so-pale Dutch skin, after a bitter cold winter, as the leaves start to break through with new life. There is so much promise and excitement. Really, those days I just stand back and appreciate the goodness soaked within the day.
Then there are those gloomy, dark, wintery, and bitter cold days. Those days when you can barely go outside because you feel like the skin is going to freeze right off of your face, and you wonder, will this ever end? Really, those days I just stand back with hope and a yearning for those good ole spring days!
Both days are wonderful in their own unique ways. One, the “hope” of a beautiful day is happening right then and there, and the other? Well, the hope and perfect day seems far off in the distance.
When I look at life, I feel like there are two different types of days. One where you just wonder “can it get any better?” Then there are days when you wonder IF it will EVER get better?
As much as we all love the easy, cruising through, bright sunny days, what do we learn from them? We can stand in appreciation of them, which usually creates a tune of thankfulness, but the challenge isn’t necessarily there.
Thinking back on my 33 years of life thus far, the times when I have learned the most, have been during the days when I wonder if there is ever an end to the valley? What is there to learn in these imperfect days? Yet it’s in those valleys, in those dark, imperfect, and gloomy days, that we are called to much more. Yes, the easy days are easy, but I find when I am in the imperfect days, that I cannot do life on my own, and that I need a Savior.
And that is where I stand this Christmas season. We all go through valleys and difficult times in our life. But we have to look no further than the manger. When I learn the most, is when I realize that life is not about up and down days, but about what we do with them.
Do we see the manger as empty or as full of hope and life? Do we treat the Christmas season as appreciating only the easy beauty of it, or see what hope it offers in the valley?
Christmas is so much more than the perfect lights, the perfectly folded paper around a box, and the perfectly decorated home. Don’t get me wrong, I see nothing wrong with Christmas lights, presents, and decorating a home. But that’s the easy stuff. That’s the “spring”.
Christmas is also about what it represents. It represents what we would call the “imperfect” setting to have a child (at least I would). It represents a bit of a valley in today’s world (I can’t imagine traveling on a donkey while about to give birth – here I struggle to entertain Mazy for a 10 hour CAR ride with a DVD player). Yikes, Kristin.
When I learn the most, is when I realize that life is imperfect, but it’s in those imperfect times, that our life is perfected. We learn the value of life, of what we have been given, and we learn the value of difficult times. Mary’s life was FAR from perfect in her world’s standard – she was not even married and was to give birth to the Savior. I’m sure that went over real well in her culture. She probably felt that the valley was so deep, and then gave birth in a stable. It was no cake-walk, let me tell you. But look at what hope her situation gave not only those who witnessed Christ’s birth, but the hope that IT STILL OFFERS US TODAY?
What in YOUR life, can offer hope not only for today, but for years to come? We all have no idea to what magnitude God will use us, if we aren’t will to walk through the valleys and endure those “bitter cold” days. But we have to keep hope alive. We have to be okay with the imperfect because who knows how that imperfect will be perfected someday.
Christ, who was perfection, also lived among the imperfect, so we could have that same hope that He came to give the world. Let HIS light shine – not just the lights on the tree or the “sunny” side of life!