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The Christmas Card

For the past two years now I’ve given a talk called “Grumble Merry Christmas.” In this talk, I admit that Rivadeneira Christmas Cards will not happen. “A Merry Christmas on Facebook will suffice,” I say. Well, turns out I lied. I’ve decided this year that a Merry Christmas wish on my BLOG will also happen. Please, hold your applause.

I decided this yesterday–after I got Christmas cards from every publisher I’ve ever worked with, from my agent, from old friends and new–and I felt a little ashamed that they’d be getting a bit whopping nada from me. That the only effort I was going to put into a mass Merry Christmas was a quick tweet on the way to a Noche Buena celebration after a candlelit service.

So…here I am, upping the ante a bit. I’ve got a picture of the famed Gunky Jesus (famous from my last e-newsletter post as well as from the climax of Grumble Hallelujah) and even one of my family.

And here are also two bits from the “Grumble Merry Christmas” talk I give. These paragraphs–which are normally separated by a good 4 minutes–sum up what Christmas has come to mean to me in these past years.

“Christmas is Jesus entering into what we don’t imagine. Into what we might not even want. Into what we’re afraid to face. Christmas is Jesus entering into our messes and our complications and our unexpected. Into our hurts as well as our joys. Into our sorrow as well as our success. Into our grumbles as well as our cheers….

“Christmas is in every dark place where Jesus enters, where ‘Gloria in Excelsis!’ is heralded by angels to the lonely, where stars shine to lead the lost. Christmas is where Jesus enters in to all our disappointments, all our stresses, all our meltdowns. Christmas is where Jesus brings light to our darkness. That’s what’s so glorious about it.”

I’ve learned these things the hard–the good–way. While Christmas looks so much different to us these past few years–because of financial burdens and family heartaches–its so much richer, so much truer than it has ever been before.

So my Christmas wish for you is that you come to this deeper, truer understanding of Christmas. While I don’t wish trials or troubles on anyone to get there, if it comes (and it always comes at some point, no?), I do hope that you can know true joy and peace and light and hope in those places.

Grumble, grumble: Merry Christmas!

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