I’m not one to decorate for Christmas in October, but this year I casually suggested we buy our tree early. My heart has been aching for Christmas. I don’t mean the cookies, lights, or parties (although I certainly love those things). I mean I’m longing for Jesus. I need the soul reminder that a Savior came to save us. I’m yearning for hope in my desolate days. When parents are aging, fires are raging, and shootings are just another thing happening, I need to know there is hope. When pastors are cheating, cancer is spreading, and children are dying, I need hope like I need water. When Christian leaders are changing sides, politics are ripping us to shreds, and siblings are silent, I need Christmas to come early this year. When life is in turmoil, I so desperately want to cling to someone or something who will stand beside me and hold me up.
The air online and at our dinner tables can be toxic. When a family member or friend “likes” a post I adamantly disagree with, I can get wildly angry. I find myself reading posts or blogs in search for the person who is saying what I’m feeling inside. I want someone to make sense of all the madness I’m seeing in the world. I find my eyes searching for someone to follow. A leader, a person, a woman who understands me and speaks for my beliefs. I look to Ann Voskamp, Christine Caine, or Emily Freeman. I read posts by Jen Hatmaker or Shauna Niequist. The list goes on and on. I’m always scouring the web looking for the Christian woman who gets me. A woman where I can say, “I’m with her!”
With the political climate a war zone and issues like abortion, homosexuality, and gender soaring, I just want to know I’m not alone. Are you on the left or right? What does culture say? What does cable news report or the President tweet? What does Christ teach? I get dizzy trying to discern grace and truth. I find myself up at night fighting inside after reading a post that sends me into rage. I want to send anonymous emails or I get lost in the deep end of hate exchanges in the comment sections. I see and feel the great divide between Christian women on difficult topics, and all in the name of Jesus, sin is happening. I’m guilty of this.
During Advent, with the hope of Jesus’ birth at our doorstep, I want to see a way through. When family members voted for opposing candidates and we can’t get through a meal without debating, there must be another way. A way that doesn’t require losing myself or fighting for my voice to be heard. A way where I don’t throw down my phone in frustration or walk away from people I love because we see Jesus from a different angle.
Perhaps the way through the holidays and the challenges in our culture and Christianity isn’t to take sides but to kneel down. Perhaps it isn’t about following the right Christian women leaders or having the best arguments but falling face down. It’s the way of the woman at the feet of Jesus. The sinful woman who walked into a room packed with Pharisees, tax collectors, sinners, lawyers and Jesus. She didn’t look at anyone else but Jesus. She knelt down. She wept and with her tears she wiped her Savior’s feet with her finest perfume. Tears, if given words, might have been saying, “Son of God, have mercy on me.”
It takes courage to walk into a room of men. A room filled with judgements and accusations and shame shooting eyes straight at you. And yet she walked and fell at the feet of Christ. It takes courage for us to walk into a world where persecution for our faith is eminent. It takes strength to sit with family members who disagree and to love unconditionally. It takes an incredible amount of focus to get all the way to Jesus. We are so tempted to stop and look to the right or left, to get angry or engage in arguments, to spew our own judgments and throw up our defensive shields.
Dear sisters, let’s lean on Christian leaders, but be careful not to let these leaders replace God. Follow anyone who will lead you back to the feet of the Beloved.
Take heart, Jesus is our defender, hope, and sustainer. He is the lover and pursuer of all hearts — yes, the sinners, tax collectors, Pharisees, liberals, conservatives, haters, and the holy. Yes, each one of us. When we are tempted to follow anyone but Jesus, we will surely find ourselves lost. Let us keep our gaze on Jesus. Let us fall effortlessly at His feet. The humble home of love is found when we encounter Christ in the reality of our need for Him.
God, how we need you. More than ever before, our hearts are aching for your comfort.
Christmas is coming, sisters. Oh, how we ache for our Savior to bring hope into our hopeless world, and we will follow Christ and Christ alone.
Perhaps the way through the holidays and the challenges in our culture and Christianity isn’t to take sides but to kneel down. - Anjuli Paschall: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Your post spoke to what my heart has been feeling for a long time. I can’t handle the family discord – the immediate family and the family of man. Like you, I feel like a salmon swimming upstream when the rest of the world is swimming the other way. You do want to stand and shout, “Stop the world; I want to get off!” Yet, in order to be like Christ, we must also participate in suffering, like Christ did for us. If this world was easy street then what would make us homesick for heaven? I join you in going down on my knees or, better yet, prostrate before God, and commit to following His Son and His Son alone. No power here on earth will save us. No politician has the answers. Only Jesus has the answers I’m looking for, and so I will worship Him and pray for strength to endure the craziness around me and try to be a light in this present darkness. Beautiful post!
Bev- your voice here is always a continual source of love. Thank you.
Michele Morin says
Kneeling alongside you, Anjuli, and thanking God for this holy reset button of Advent. Oh, how we need to stop looking around and to start looking up.
Anjuli paschall says
Michele- let’s keep our knees and hearts soft. Right there with Yalu sister.
Beth Williams says
Your post is spot on!! I have been thinking “come Lord Jesus come”. “I’m ready to leave”. This world is so full of divisiveness & hatred. This time of year is tough for many. I don’t get wrapped up in all the secular Christmas hoopla. My view is to do what I can to point people to the true meaning of Christmas. I start by saying Merry Christmas all the time. God wants us down here for a while longer to shed His light of love on this dark sin filled world. I focus on others & their needs. Matthew West has a powerful Christmas song out that truly explains what God did for us: “Leaving Heaven”.
Well, it’s been real nice living way up here In paradise, over the atmosphere But I can’t stay long, gotta make my way
I’m leaving Heaven today You see the world is dark and it needs a light I’m gonna hang a star in the eastern sky
So everybody’s gonna know where I touch down I’m leaving Heaven right now I’m gonna walk around that broken Earth
Trading in these streets of gold So if you ever wonder how much you’re worth You should know
That you’re the reason why I’m leaving Heaven
Ain’t gonna be no kingdom, ain’t gonna be no crown Just a little old manger, in a little old town But it’ll do just fine for this humble King
I’m leaving Heaven let all the angels sing I’m gonna walk around that broken Earth Trading in these streets of gold So if you ever wonder how much you’re worth You should know You’re the reason why I’m leaving Heaven
And when my time comes to an end I’ll lay down my life like a truest friend And when I get back home, I’m gonna make some room
So, don’t you worry, ‘cause I’m coming back for you And you will say goodbye to that broken Earth You’re gonna walk on streets of gold
And if you ever wonder what my love is worth Well you should know That I’m the reason you’ll be seeing Heaven Oh, you’re the reason why I’m leaving Heaven I’m leaving Heaven
Anjuli paschall says
Are you familiar with the song “come Lord Jesus, Come?”
It’s one of my favorites. Your comment blessed me so much. Thank you.
Let us remember that we are all different and our views will not be the same and despite all this, we are called to love and we will walk this life together hand in hand even when we disagree. Do not allow the world to change our only goal and that is to be that light for someone, to bring those who are hurting to know that if they follow after God, there is hope and peace. Everything else shouldn’t matter for this world is only temporary. Lord, let our hearts be filled with compassion during this season and keep our eyes on You and Your words of truth so that we may bring others to run after You.
Anjuli paschall says
Ah such a good reminder. Love, always love.
Love these truthful words so much! Thank you for speaking to the hurtful divide we find ourselves immersed in these days. Falling at the feet of Jesus with hearts intent on following Him alone is the perfect path to the peace and hope we so desperately need. ❤️
You’re welcome. So grateful you were encouraged. Merry Christmas!
Keri Boer says
Amen! Thank you for bringing us back to the feet of Jesus. It is so easy for my passions to flair in the name of justice, righteousness, decency. But do my passions rise up with as much intensity to worship our Savior? And do I humble myself enough to remember that my opinions are those of a sinner among sinners, all of us in need of the generous refining fire of the Spirit? Thank you, Jesus, for your never-ending patience, forgiveness, and restoration. May we be ever seeking your face and resting in the hope found only in your arms.
Anjuli paschall says
Oh what a beautiful prayre. Yes, May we keep our faces facing Him.
Thank-you for your words, I understand the anguish. So yes, let’s fall on our knees, and not lose hope.
I Hope that you all have a blessed day,
‘O Holy Night’
Lila Lambert says
I dont look for answers in the media or social media or online….but in the bible He gave us the handbook of life…and some folks wont go to church because the pastor is cheating on his wife or some molesting children….so I dont go for the pastor or the music or the beauty of the building but for Jesus…He is waiting for us there
Anjuli Paschall says
Such a good reminder. Thank you.
This post blessed me and met me right where I am. ❤️ Thank you! It is the truth that we all need to read right now. Through all the craziness of life, we must kneel down at the foot of Jesus. We all need a Savior. I feel like I need this advent season more than ever.
Anjuli paschall says
Thanks for being here Erin! Merry Christmas!
Very well said and heartfelt and true. Thank you
Thank you so much for this post. It reminded me I am not alone . I am standing and believing with you. Sometimes the division , politics and violence serve as huge distractions and make Him hard to see , but oh if I can just get to them hem of His garment. If I can just remind myself He’s there even when I walk into that difficult board room and I know I’m the only one.
Thank you for reminding me that no matter how difficult things get here on earth, peace will always be at His feet.
Anjuli.\ paschall says
Never alone. Thank goodness! Seeking long and hard after Jesus is the joy of our lives. Merry Christmas!
Amen amen….I hear you sister…my heart yearns for the Coming of our Lord! In 50 years of marriage and decorating the Christmas tree , this year I just couldn’t decorate it…so much buzzing in our world and in my brain…to my surprise I came home the other night and it was up (hubby did it who has never ever bothered with it before) with 300 lights and only the old Angel my uncle gave us the first year of marriage on top… I sat staring at its beauty…no fills..no decorations but saw the ANGEL Proclaiming His birth and the LIGHTS of His Glory.
REJOICE REJOICE… …….HE IS ALIVE..✝
BLESSINGS AND JOY AND H O P E. to you and all your readers and writers and staff at In Courage for a very MERRY CHRISTMAS
Anjuli paschall says
And a merry Christmas to you! Your response brought me so much JOY!!!! Merry Christmas to you as well!!!
Calvonia Radford says
This post resonates with me in this season. I too want CHRISTmas to come early. Maranatha. Come Lord!
Becky Keife says
Anjuli, your words always breathe honesty and hope. Yes. I am with you. Going to the Savior’s feet together. Let’s camp out there for a good long while–like forever. xx
Becky Beresford says
Oh Anjuli, THANK YOU for this! My heart stands in solidarity with you, Sister.
I hate how the enemy has snuck in and stirred up so much division, causing Sisters to turn on Sisters and Brothers to turn on Brothers. Meanwhile, he just sits in the shadows, snickering as he distracts us from the One who unites us all. I wrote a post on my blog called “People Over Parties” that reflects the beautiful words you shared with us all here… what I see happening in our world just tears at my spirit. But thank you for bringing us back to the feet of our Savior. “It takes an incredible amount of focus to get all the way to Jesus.” It certainly does, but it is so good to know as Daughters of the Most High, we can do this together.
Thank you so much.
Kneeling down with you,
As I have been reading, a beautiful picture formed in my mind. The angels gathering and rejoicing , all my lovely sisters in Christ bowing , on blended knee, all of us worshiping our beloved Jesus, our Savior! You are all so beautiful and I am so humbled and blessed to have you in my life. We serve a mighty God who can bring us all together this way, even though we’ve never met, we will one day! Worshipping Him just as we do now! Amen! That devil was defeated at the cross and that is why he is fighting so hard now! He knows his time is very short and he is running scared! Let us continue to worship and bow down even more, it makes the enemy nervous!
Blessings to everyone and your families! Let us all continue to let the His light shine brightly into this wounded world!
Marinalva Sickler says
I agree with you. Christ should be the center of our Christmas. My tree is not raised yet. I just begin my home decoration and bought a gingerbread house to set it up with my grandson, Oliver, who is 3 years old, and, perhaps, his brother, Wesley, 14, will come along. I’m a grandma raising two grandsons and I enjoy reading Christmas book to Oliver.
Hugs. Be merrily blessed.