For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… Isaiah 9:6
“You have to decide… do you think God is a giver or a taker?” That was a question posed to thousands of women on September 15, 2012. And on that day, if I were to have answered honestly, I would have said taker. Despite all I had ever read about God, and all I had experienced of God, in the darkest recesses of my heart I believed the worst. I believed He was a taker. I just didn’t realize that’s what I believed.
And in truth, I continue to process that thought even now. Two and a half years later. That deep down irrational notion that God, who is the creator of all life, could be a taker of life. And that thinking brings me directly to the heart of Christmas today.
Yes, I’m brought to the inner chambers of God’s heart by the above verse I’ve heard at least a hundred times before. It’s a verse that adorns Christmas cards every year. But today, it’s new to me. Because I read it as if it’s written directly to me…
For unto me, a child is born.
Unto me, a son is given.
By God. The ultimate Christmas gift. And so today I see truth. I’ve been illuminated and find He’s a giver after all.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:4-5
It’s December 4th and Christmas is a mere three weeks away. And for the first time I feel utterly unprepared. And furthermore, I feel uninspired. In fact, I feel downright cynical. I even told my husband this week… my heart is as black as night.
See, over packed stores turn my stomach and I find holiday ads to be revolting. Especially the one that shows a gadget you can attach to your sink called a sponge bath. A $40.00 contraption adorns shelves nationwide for the one who has everything under the sun.
This would be the ultimate gift, no? A device one can use to bathe their kitchen sponge. Translation… we have so much and everyone else has so much, new devices must be thought up. New gift ideas created yearly so that the uninspired shopper may be so inspired. Yes! This is what I can give. Surely my mother doesn’t have one of these! A sponge bath.
To me, well, a gift like that says I have no earthly clue what to give you so I just picked up this thing. And in truth, I’d rather give nothing at all. Like I said, I feel cynical. Nasty. And surely, I’ve insulted someone by this. To the one who likes the idea of a sponge bath (for it does kill bacteria), I really am sorry. I am. Me? I’m just feeling ugly.
And why should that be? It’s Christmas time. Why do I have the blues? And why do they call them the blues anyway? Because if you were to gauge by my feelings, I’d say they should be called the blacks. For that’s how I feel. As I said… my heart is black as night.
And so, I evaluate. Know what I come up with? Guilt. I am consumed with guilt because I have no earthly right to feel the way I do. Anyone will tell me I have it made for I have so much. I am truly blessed. In fact, I’m hesitant to write this because I’ve been taken down a notch or two at least once before. In addressing my darkness (I am a moody girl, it’s true), I have been exhorted by others.
Oh, I’ve been chastened by the well-meaning soul. Basically, open your eyes. See what you have. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. And that’s why the ensuing guilt.
Oh, that God would help me to see truth. Oh that He would help me overcome the darkness. Because I know…
I know I have so very much.
And so today, I write. For despite today’s dark demeanor, I have to say this year has been one of the most wonderful yet. Because just about a year ago, I found out I was pregnant.
Unto me, a child was given.
She lived inside me for forty weeks until finally, she made her way into my arms. And God help me, despite this sweet, precious gift… I still get the blues. Or the blacks. And I know why.
It’s called loneliness.
It first presented when I had my son eight years ago. I became home-bound, isolated, and lonely. Depression descended like a shroud. And I find myself here again but this time, I have a daughter. Home-bound once more. Isolated and lonely. And those times, I’m most vulnerable. When I have too much alone time, it’s just not healthy.
And so in evaluation of today’s black mood, I wonder to myself… why write? For it’s Christmas. Why mention the darkness at all? And I choose to do so now because of One reason. I know the truth.
I know there is a Light.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every many who comes into the world. John 1:6-9
Sadly, if I were to pose the question I heard over two years ago, there would be someone else. If I asked do you think God is a giver or a taker, there would be another. Because I can’t be the only one who’s gone down that road of thinking.
So I write for her today. The isolated, lonely soul. My words are for the one who deep down believes God is a taker. Oh, she’s out there somewhere and she may not even realize she thinks that way. All she knows is she’s bitter. Or resentful. Or fearful. Or maybe just plain old melancholy.
No difference for it all fuels the guilt… I know.
So amidst the hustle and bustle of this season, I pray she pauses to ponder. Why? And if she does, maybe she’d discover what lie in the deepest, darkest chambers of her heart.
Oh if she’d just take just a moment to analyze her guilt and uncover the truth. That she’d come to realize the guilt is not from God. For He doesn’t give guilt.
Yeah… my hope this year, at Christmas time, is that the woman who needs to know the truth will know it. That fear and guilt is rooted in a lie. I pray she comprehends darkness does not have to be her truth any longer. For God is a giver of light. And life.
For He gave the ultimate Christmas gift over two thousand years ago when He gave His one and only Son.
May the woman who walks in darkness realize this most amazing truth…
For unto her, a child is born.
Unto her, a Son is given.
Unto her! God gave it all. May she grasp the gift that was given on her behalf and finally, finally, get it. No, God is not a taker, after all. He is a giver. And because He gives, she can, too.
Oh, may she get it. And may I get it, too. Finally. Because not only do I write for her, but I write for myself.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:3-4
Yes, I’m hesitant to touch on darkness because I feel guilty. I know in my heart of hearts I shouldn’t feel black as night. Not now. Not ever. For God has given so much.
And my cynicism of the season in no way reflects the truth of the season. See, a sponge bath cannot convey in the least what lie at the heart of Christmas… or what lie at the center of God’s heart. In truth, there’s nothing I can buy off a shelf that compares to God’s gift.
Because Christmas is all about His gift. No present measures up to that. For unto us, a Son was given…
And when the light of that truth sinks into a cold, dark heart, life is given. So instead of all the other pretty packages, maybe this year we can unwrap His gift. It’s the One wrapped in light.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of darkness, a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
This Christmas, may we overcome the darkness that sometimes pervades the season. May we push those blues (or blacks) right out the door. Oh, that we would overlook all the trappings and recover the heart of Christmas. May we all really get it. Finally.
For God is a giver.
He gives and gives. May that inspire us more than anything else this Christmas. And may that be the One reason we give.