About the Author

Alia Joy is an author who believes the darkness is illuminated when we grasp each other's hand and walk into the night together. She writes poignantly about her life with bipolar disorder as well as grief, faith, marriage, poverty, race, embodiment, and keeping fluent in the language of hope in...

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  1. Alia Joy,
    Christmas is coming. That sentence can strike a chord of hope, but it can also be a harbinger of massive anxiety (even for those without clinical anxiety). Somehow the crowded space between Thanksgiving and Christmas has a way of holding up a giant magnifying glass to all our flaws, foibles, struggles, illnesses, doubts. Whatever we tolerate during the rest of the year comes forward and to the front boldly. I can relate – having an anxiety disorder that brings depression with it, I NEED my sleep, but there’s not enough time to sleep….Christmas is coming. I attended a fun Christmas gathering and, like you, brought home the crud and am coughing. Mom comes today and the fridge and pantry are bare. No energy for groceries. But Jesus. He still comes even if we are weary and bone tired,even if the decorations aren’t hung, even if the pantry is empty, even if….Ann Voskamp calls us “manger tramps” who are called to bring our baggage that ways us down, and come. Simply come to the manger. The hope is that Jesus wants my heart and he really doesn’t care if the baking didn’t get done this year. He just wants me to come, bone tired, weary, exhausted, and yes, even mean. He beckons me to crawl into the manger and rest my head on His lap. Hope. Peace. It’s all right there begging us to just come. Praying for you as you await His coming….just as you are.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  2. Nobody waits “to the bottom of their toes” like little boys, and you are such a perceptive mum to turn the corner from irritation and to see the quivering joy that fuels impatience. Your words make me wonder how much of my past-middle-age “patience” is really just resignation or loss of hope. May this season of waiting inspire our hearts to a new and holy impatience. There’s so much good ahead.

  3. Alia,

    This time of year can be frustrating for many. So many fun activities to attend, our to-do list is long & yet life still goes on. People get sick, hurt & die. Mental illness is heightened this time of year with less light. Seeing all this it can be hard to be cheery & enjoy the holidays. Even in the midst of all this Jesus still comes. He celebrates His birthday each year. We need to focus our attention on the lowly manger where He lay. Worship Him for leaving the splendor of Heaven for our sinful souls. Thank Mary & Joseph for being so obedient to the calling. He wants our hearts, minds & souls to be focused on Him. Not the hundred of items on a to-do list or all the gift giving. This should be a time of year when we slow down enough to concentrate on Advent & anticipate His coming. Not weary ourselves doing everything. Like Bev said we need to be manger tramps rushing to see the new King-savior of the world!

    P.S. praying for everyone to get well quickly!!

    Blessings 🙂 Merry Christmas!!

  4. This is so beautiful and honest. Thank you, Alia, for taking a cue from your boy and writing it for us. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  5. Last week, my mom went to heaven. I am finding it difficult to focus on this season of celebration, but your story reminds me that this is the season of our Christ’s birth. My mom is attending the biggest party ever. I am thankful you paused for your movie, and I took the time to read your precious words.
    Thank you,
    Terri

    • Sending you a hug this morning, Terri. I’m so sad that your mom won’t be with you this season, but thankful that you can know she’s with Jesus. May the Spirit wrap you in His arms of love and comfort. Blessings to you.

    • Terri, I’m so sorry for your loss. We’re so glad you chose to spend this moment with us. Amidst the grief and ache, may you feel God’s nearness in new ways this Christmas. Much love.

    • Terri,
      I am deeply sorry for the loss of your Mom. I hope and pray that you will find comfort in the Lord.
      Penny

  6. Thank you for your real-ness, even when that means you feel you’ve been mean. God loves all of us, every inch of the pretty and not so pretty, and when we are real with one another, we uncover this rich truth! Holiday Blessings and cuddles with the little ones this Holiday. That’s what I pray to give particular attention to enjoying. Life has a way of wanting to steal us from delighting in our loved ones. I pray to delight in them as God delights in us each day.

  7. It so good to stop rest do what is say at this time of year. In Matthew 11 verse 28 Come to me all you who labor and I will give you rest. And sit and rest at the feet of Jesus. As Christmas does and can be a lovely time of year for some. A sad time for some. A busy time with work kids doing presents Christmas dinner ect. Trying to fit time in to visit people. Busy busy. We get tired. Sometime just the stress of it and the thought of it all can get to us. Just listen to Jesus that baby that came in a manger that went to the cross for us all. Take time if you can out of the busy season do what Matthew 11 verse 28 says. Xxx

  8. It so good to stop rest do what is say at this time of year. In Matthew 11 verse 28 Come to me all you who labor and I will give you rest. And sit and rest at the feet of Jesus. As Christmas does and can be a lovely time of year for some. A sad time for some. A busy time with work kids doing presents Christmas dinner ect. Trying to fit time in to visit people. Busy busy. We get tired. Sometime just the stress of it and the thought of it all can get to us. Just listen to Jesus that baby that came in a manger that went to the cross for us all. Take time if you can out of the busy season do what Matthew 11 verse 28 says. As Jesus would want us to that not let the busy season get us stressed up. Xxx

  9. Alia, this moved me to tears. How often I am that mom! (The good and the bad. Lol) My health also requires less ambitious activities when I’m relegated to the couch. Thank you for this reminder of hope. Thank You, Jesus.

  10. Yes… *this*… today of all days. As I sit, exhausted and ragged, tears welling up as I read this. Stress wreaks havoc on my sleeping and then things start to go downhill so quickly. Someone asked me how I was this morning. “At capacity.” was my honest reply. I can’t handle one more thing on my to-do list. I can’t handle one more request. Advent does not feel like ‘expectant waiting’ this year. It feels like “crazy-running-around-with-my-head-cut-off-why-did-I-leave-this-to-the-last-minute” kind of season. I sat with Jesus the other morning and told Him how guilty I feel about this ‘non-Advent’ season. I have not sat at His feet. I have not spent time gazing in wonder at the manger scene. I have not spent time listening to His voice. I berate myself about the lack of festive decor, about the fact that with only a few days left, I still have not spent time baking with the kids or doing other fun crafty Christmas activities. It’s nice to hear that I am not alone in this – that there are other moms who are ‘at capacity’ too. I know that Jesus is still with me… but I long for more rest, more joy, more ‘margin’ to breathe and take time. Time to laugh, time to play, time to cook and bake and love on others.

    But today…. I do need to just rest with Him…. because I am ‘worn down to the bone’.

  11. I am a good mom and a mean mom too. I feel the mingle of hope and weariness and all the “shoulds” that clamor for my attention. Thank you for letting us experience a real moment with you. Your stories minister to souls, they minister to mine. Much love to you, friend.

  12. Alia Joy,
    Interesting you were struggling to write, and your son filled with Christmas who you thought was disturbing your creative flow, actually presented your topic – his excitement about Advent and Christmas. I truly enjoyed your story.
    May God shower you and your family and all readers with blessings! Joan

    your

  13. Thank you for this. I have been the ‘mean mom’ today So very thankful for God’s grace and mercy!

  14. Alia, I had tears thinking about you. The reading reminded me of my last year when I got a hard cold that affected my baby grandson I raise. Raising kids is a difficult task. This Advent I’m recovering of a bunion surgery. I raise two grandsons, 14 and 3 years old. I’m praying for you and for all who are having a hard time during this Christmastime. Thank you so much.