Merry Christmas...Eve? It's still a merry Christmas nonetheless.
I mentioned yesterday how much I love Christmas. The love I have for the Christmas holiday has only increased as I've gotten older because there's this greater realization that the day is about what is important in life: love. The children fortunate enough to experience the decorations, candy canes, and presents look at Christmas with wide-eyed innocence, experiencing joy and love, but some never really take it in. How can they? When we are young, it's hard to really grasp the darkness that engulfs this world, the sins and regrets that plagues people's lives, so it's difficult to appreciate something like love.
I know that I was one of those kids who didn't take the meaning of Christmas in until she was older. Older as in...I guess late elementary school or junior high school. It saddens me to remember how wrapped up my life was in materialistic things, how it was still focused on materialism when I got older albeit in a different way. As a kid, I liked the presents, but now I'm older, I find I care little for presents. Material possessions only last for so long before they become worthless trinkets, or things that we just discard with apathy or disdain. When I became older, I became wrapped up by the future, and what the future could hold for me. It took several years for me to really grasp how empty my life was when I focused it on tangible rewards.
I am so blessed to be surrounded by family and friends. God has blessed me plenty with loving parents, a comical older brother, two awesome roommates who have seen the dark and light shades of my character, ten wonderful sisters in Christ who I have shared and grown so much with this past year, and a community filled with God's sacrificial and selfless love. And there is so much more that I'm thankful for...my high school friends, who I saw just yesterday for a Christmas party. I do miss the high school days. Contrary to how many people feel about high school, I actually enjoyed it despite my academic anxiety and materialistic focus. There were a lot of lessons to be learned in high school, and it was a period of growth. Perhaps high school was preparation for the more intense growing and maturation I would have to face in college.
When I really ponder, and not just think on a superficial level, I remember that what is most important in life is following Christ through fellowship and service. I struggle so much still to not worry about the future, and it's difficult for me to just really let go of my anxiety and to fully trust God. It reminds me of a line from the Avalon song, "Come and Fill My Heart."
"It's hard for me to die to myself,
and trust my life to someone else.
So come, empty me out,
I'm no good without You inside of me"
I recently started listening to Avalon again. I was a huge Avalon fan back in junior year in high school (as in I listened to their songs continuously), but I think I got "Avalon"-ed out since I listened to them so much. Listening to their hit songs again like "Testify to Love" and "In Not Of", I realize how differently I interpret the songs now and how the lyrics have a much greater meaning to me. Before, I was filled with joy when I thought of Christ as my Savior, but perhaps the joy lacked substance in its basis. Now, when I listen to "Come and Fill My Heart" and I hear the lyrics, "I long for the day I believe that all You say You see in me is true...", I experience something much greater in my heart as I think of Christ as my Savior and Lord. I'm reminded of my past, my shallowness, and all my shortcomings...and it's a reminder of Christ's great love for humanity.
But it's hard. It's hard to strive for goodness and love, to forgive and love unconditionally as Christ loved us. It's difficult to throw off that feeling of selfish entitlement when I'm at home and to not revert back to my old nature. And I struggle, but it's not good enough. I just fail again and again...but I trust in Him, and I hope that He will fill me my heart with love, hope, patience...
So that song, "Come and Fill My Heart" by Avalon is really a prayer for me. That is my prayer to God, that He will continue to fill my heart with His presence. And it's not just a prayer on Christmas day...but every day.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
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