Monday, October 25, 2010

what i learned about christmas today

Last Tuesday I was home sick and sometime that evening I watched one of my favorite movies.

The Family Stone.

I like it for many reasons, not the least of which is that Luke Wilson holds a special place in my heart ever since he was the thoughtful law student in Legally Blonde.

I also love it because it's about Christmas. And who doesn't love Christmas? It has my dream home. I'm pretty sure the Stone's house is my dream home. And all the snow? And the familyness? (Just look past me making up that word). I can appreciate that the Stones have their little family unit and they have their traditions and their dysfunction as does every family. And I love the bigness. Big families. Christmas. Pretty houses. Snow. It doesn't get much better than that.

So, I always cry at the end of that movie, but last week, during some random point in the movie I just started crying. Mostly because I was thinking about how Sarah wasn't going to be home this Christmas. Or the next 3 Christmases. And it seriously tore. open. my. heart. And tear ducts. I was really really really (and a lot more reallys) sad. Really.

I was thinking about waiting at the bottom of the stairs to go upstairs and dig through stockings and presents. Helping with lunch. Staying up watching America's Funniest Home Videos. All the siblings going to the movies on Christmas night. All the stuff that makes us...


That to me is a huge part of Christmas. It's what I look forward to.

And just thinking about it possibly not being like every other Christmas had me crying.

Fast forward to today, sitting at lunch, doing my Bible study. I'm going through Kelly Minter's 'No Other Gods' and it is so. good. It's reshaping my heart and allowing me to let go of things that I had unknowingly made into idols in my life. Or perhaps knowingly. Either way. It's changing me.

We've talked about idols and why they're bad and how they dethrone God and set us up for false expectations and the point has been driven home again and again that they will never satisfy. They won't. They can't. Eventually, we'll realize that, but it's always better when we realize it sooner rather than later. This week is focused on saying goodbye to those things that we've made as idols.

"I'm finding that when I dwell on a memory or a tradition in an unhealthy dose, it occupies every part of my brain that could otherwise be taking in my surrounding and what God may be trying to reveal to me. There is a place for sentimentality, but I've been a junkie, and living in the moment is a much fuller way to live."

I read that and it slapped me in the face. One of Kelly's (I say that like we're best friends, although, she did reply back to a tweet of mine last week so, perhaps we're on our way to bff-dom?) friends was talking about how she hated Nashville (her new town) for the longest and didn't really enjoy the city because her heart and mind were stuck back in Iowa (her old home).

I realized I did that a lot in Dallas. I had left my heart in Mississippi and wasn't fully living in the Big D.

I think we can do the same thing with memories and traditions.

Of course I'm going to miss my sister on Christmas, but that doesn't mean that God can't make this the best Christmas ever. I want to keep my eyes open to what He has for us this Christmas. Because my heart says, there can be nothing good about a Christmas without Sarah. But at the same time I read God can make anything good.

"With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."
- Mark 10:27

All things.

Not some things. Not parts of things.

All things.

Even Christmases without my sister.

And as if that wasn't exactly what I needed to hear Mark goes on to say this:

"So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. "
- Mark 10:29-30
(emphasis mine)

I read that and I can only think how Sister is being obedient to Him. How she left her house, brother, sisters, father, mother, lands--for Christ's sake. For the Gospel's sake. And because of that, because of her obedience, she'll receive not only what she gave up, but all that multiplied by 100. Not only in this life, but in eternity. That blows my mind. That God loves us that much. That He chooses to bless those who honor and obey Him. We don't deserve any of it. Yet He gives it, because He can.

I don't have a big pretty bow to tie this thing up. I just know that my heart is growing. I'm being cleansed from the cobwebs of my former idols. I'm not letting traditions or cherished memories keep me from making new traditions, and new cherished memories. I'm allowing God to do the impossible, the stuff that is only possible with Him.

Like enjoying Christmas this year.


  1. Awesome post, Rebekah! I love your heart and I love that sister of yours as well! God is good and will give you an amazing Christmas with focus on Him! It'll be different, and hard at times, I'm sure, but He's got a plan and it always brings Him glory! :) Love you!

  2. Wow. What a gorgeous post. I've never seen Family Stone, but I totally want to now. :)



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