Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas Reflections

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I love this season of Christmas.  I can barely wait each year for the afternoon when our family exchanges ornaments and decorates the tree; for the way we laugh and retell the stories, and one by one weigh down the branches with memories new and old.  I treasure the simple, unexpected moments of togetherness when all of us end up laying around in the living room with the tree lights low, the music playing and the easy conversation that flows.  I love the huge family and friend gatherings with great food, little kids running around and the pleasure of being with those we care about.  Even the kitchen chaos has had a festive feel to it lately... like last night when each of us on crazy schedules came tumbling in at different times, ate our dinner, snacked on ginger cookies, watched the gingerbread house take shape on the table (thanks to Brooklyn), and dipped into the candies meant to decorate it. These are the moments I love and cherish so much.  They are such wonderful gifts.

But there is one gift I cherish more, and sometimes I forget.   It's only when I stop and intentionally set aside some quiet moments to reflect, to pull away from all the hustle and noise, pressure and distraction, that I remember. 

Amidst all the wonderful gifts, there is something infinitely more....the most immeasurable, indescribable, invaluable gift of all: God's gift of Himself to me -- to all of us. He is the gift of fresh, new beginnings; the gift of forgiven mistakes, forgotten pasts, and clean slates.  He is the gift of freedom for our souls. He is Christmas.

A couple thousand years ago, at just the perfect moment -planned before the beginning of time- God did the impossible.  He became small. The creator and mastermind behind all that we might wrap our wildest imaginations around, willingly inserted Himself into time and history, in the form of a helpless baby, born to a peasant girl who was engaged to a carpenter.  And His birth was announced to the shepherds, of course.  God lit up the heavens with stars and angel-choirs singing -- a show for the lowly and lonely and overlooked. 

This is what God always does.  He comes to those of us that want and need him most. He becomes small enough to be born in us,  if we choose to make any room at all for Him in our own soul's manger -- right there in the mess of it all.  And then the Miracle grows in us.  God fills us and spills out of us.  We get to be transformed daily, if we choose, because the creator is lovingly at work within us.

And just like the virgin Mary, who said "yes" to being a vessel wherein Christ could dwell, we have the same choice to make.  Are we willing to say yes, even the tiniest yes, to having God dwell in us?  Are we willing, even when we don't know what it means, when we're afraid, when we doubt, when we're confused and lost in our messy lives, to say yes?  

If we are, if we're willing to make any room at all for God in us, I can't help but believe that we might finally experience a widening of our imaginations and catch a glimpse of Christmas' true meaning and best gift.

Merry Christmas to you all.

words and images © copyright Melody Armstrong 2016


  1. Thank you for that beautiful message! I love it and I love you! It is easy to see that God works through you to create beauty. Thank you for being a vessel for love and joy to come through you. I know you will have a special Christmas and an amazing new year and it is exactly what you deserve because you create it! You are always and inspiration to me.

    1. My dear friend Chantal, thank you so much for these words...I don't even know how to reply. I'm just so blown away to have the beauty of your friendship in my life. It is so much richer because of you. Thank for all the love and inspiration you pour right back into me...always. You are a jewel!!! Xo. Love and Merry Christmas.


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