Breaking with Tradition

Written by Kari West

breaktraditionNothing can ever separate us from his love. Death…life…angels…demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries for tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away (Romans 8:38).

Christmas is found in the heart, not under a tree. But when your heart is breaking and you are grieving, getting through this particular holiday can be rough. The season becomes more of a burden than a blessing. Wherever we turn, we see people trying to cram an old-fashioned, picture perfect holiday into their hectic schedule. The frenzy is contagious. Haunted by our own Christmas Past, we start to feel left out. Our friends and family wonder why we just can’t get into it anymore.

No wonder holiday blues light up crisis hot lines across the country and colds abound. Days shorten. Expectations lengthen. Stress increases. Stores are crowded; airports, jammed. We lose sleep. Some of us overeat; others, overbuy. We spend time with people we would rather not be with and miss loved ones who are deceased. Our depression mounts — along with the dread of reading piles of glowing newsletters from friends announcing fabulous vacations, great promotions, and their kids’ grade point averages. No longer do we feel comfortable turning to them when when we’re down. After all, what happy family wants our sorrows? If our family was splintered in a divorce, we may harbor guilt and resentment as our children go to stay with their dad. We are angry that finances are low and there’s no place to go.

If you add it all up, there isn’t a better time to break with tradition. To stop searching for the right gift or that perfect tree. To stare through the mirage of holiday glitter and garlands. To look beyond our sense of helplessness and hopelessness, shame and failure. To see what really matters.

Too often it escapes our notice that the greatest sermon ever preached took place not in a brightly lit, ornately decorated, crowded cathedral, but in a plain farm field of a poor country beneath a dark sky in front of a few ordinary shepherds. Both the Good News and the best gift arrived at night. Jesus was born into a world much like our own. People were wrapped up in their own agendas, registering for the census, finding lodging, feeding donkeys and tending sheep. They were also divorcing their wives and burying their dead. There was discrimination, high taxes and political upheaval.

Our Savior never led a sheltered life. As far as we know, he never hung a Christmas stocking or unwrapped a toy. Outside of traveling to Egypt as an infant, Jesus never journeyed more than a hundred miles from his birthplace. He didn’t party with the elite, but chose to dine with commoners. He died at 31, without decorating a Christmas tree or sending a card. What Jesus did do and still does is love people. He spoke with a divorcee, allowed a prostitute to wash his feet, and praised a poor widow who gave all she had.

Into our own dark December comes this undeserved and unbelievable love gift from the Father. You and I are accepted just as we are — moody or merry; rich or poor; married, widowed or divorced. Judy in Ontario, Canada, puts it this way: “God’s gift of salvation was given to us before we were divorced, widowed, wounded, abandoned, rejected or homeless. This gift comes with an eternal, unchanging, non-negotiable, non-refundable guarantee.”

As I read the closing words in her e-mail — Emmanuel, God is with us — I realized Judy lives moment to moment with this certainty. After serving beside her husband as a missionary in Africa for 13 years, she is now a single and working mom. Her husband of 17 years claimed he had made a mistake in marrying her and that he should not have to pay for that mistake for the rest of his life. Their divorce became final on December 21. At Christmas, Judy struggles along with the rest of us over what to do with that box of ornaments from the past. But she knows what really matters — Emmanuel. She discovered that not even an unwanted divorce can separate her from God’s love.

As a believer in Christ Jesus, God has given You an amazing gift — His very life, breath and power lives in You in the person of the Holy Spirit.

We experience the Holy Spirit’s constant help, guidance, comfort as we ask Him and we trust Him to keep on filling us. When we do, we overflow: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Why not pray this simple prayer right now and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you today?

Father, thank You for seeing me as a whole, wonderful woman, who is full of promise and potential, and for gifting me with an ability to bless the world as I live out the truth of what I have been through. Your love overwhelms me.

Thank You for the Holy Spirit, who lives inside me and desires to help me follow the best path for my life. Fill me up with Your Spirit!  Let Him have all of me! I want Your joy, peace, hope and power to flow into my life and through my life to others. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

5 Responses to “Breaking with Tradition”

  • Sharon says:

    dear theresa prayer–father God i pray right now for theresa put your arms around her during this time of a daughter leaving and her partner leaving too surround her and bring other people along her path to encourage her God be with her at this time i pray all of this in JESUS name amen i feel for you i am dealing with a death in my family i am having a rough time of it too. i am praying for you.

  • Theresa says:

    Hello. This MUST truly have been God sent! I am going through a difficult time in my life. My youngest daughter whom I love very dearly, left for college last year. A year I was waiting for her to come back, and she chose not to come back to my abode. She walked out on me. The sense of betrayal and pain by my youngest child was almost debilitatingly painful. I work as a nurse and while doing medpass, I would indvertently have tears flowing down my eyes. Then, a little more than two months later, the relationship that I thought I would have until I grew old and grey, fizzled down from right under me. I had been with this man on and off for over two years, and I could no longer take the emotional roller coasters of our relationship. I knew it was time to look into my other options.. To lose someone tht you have loved with such intensity for so long, is like having your heart wrung out. But, again, I knew I would survive.
    Life is good. We just need to look for fun and laughter and our own happiness.

  • Rose says:

    I am relieved and also encouraged by this mail,NORMA and everyone having troubled marraiges and relationships, i have a great secret for all of you, if you try this, youll definitely notice a change in your life, BY MIDNITE, 12PM, TAKE OFF ALL YOUR CLOTHS AND CRY OUT TO GOD IN EARNEST PRAYERS, LET YOUR PRAYERS BE SINCERE AND GENUINE, ASK GOD TO GIVE YOU PEACE, LOVE AND HAPPINESS, SING PRAISES TOO AND SEE WHAT THE LORD WOULD DO FOR YOU. try this for 3 days, and ensure that from the moment you make up your mind to do this, you change your attitude, become a good person, love people around you, and dont hurt anyone, believe me, ull experience a great change. you can call me on +2348058013356 or, for prayers and testimonies. God bless you all

  • Thank you for this email… It is amazing how God sends us messages out of the blue JUST RIGHT TIME….I wish people to get the real meaning of Christmas….My marriage is also in trouble but God keeps giving me meessage on his chosen path for my life. AMEN I will take any prayers offered.
    Thank you and God Bless

  • Esther says:

    Calvary Greetings to you all.

    Christimas is the time when Jesus Christ was born it’s not the time of exchanging gifts, it’s the time of prayers, the time of committing our lives to God because the love of God is an everlasting love, whether divorced or married, unmarriad, widowed this is the time that we should break the traditional and follow Jesus Christ who’s love endures forever, He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore.
    God bless you all and wish you a happy and merry Christmas.

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