A Christmas Letter

The last few days have been spent penning notes to faraway friends whom I love dearly, and the list would hardly be complete without a few words for whoever kindly returns to this same little URL over and over and reads line after line of my heart typed across the screen.

Without further ado:

Dear friends and countrymen,

Merry Christmas Eve.

I appreciate you more than you could possibly know. Do you know how much writers love readers? You provide a great deal of motivation to carefully construct and critically analyze everything I write. These are the highly imperfect thoughts of an even more imperfect person, and I’m surprised and blessed that so many of you consistently come back to read more of them.

But as we approach the end of the year, let’s hear it for imperfection.

Thank God for plans gone awry, names forgotten, messages undelivered, and toes stepped on. Because honestly, humans are bad planners, some names shouldn’t be remembered, many messages are better unread, and the people who love you will still love you if you step on their toes. Sometimes those imperfections are the grace of God in curious disguise.

As I look back on this year, I still can hardly fathom the blessings I would have missed if everything had followed through the first time it seemed right. But it isn’t just the blessings I’m thankful for. Counter-intuitive though it may be, I am learning to be thankful for the dissonance in between when the day was too long, the night was too short, the line went dead, the call never even came, the illness lingered another week, the response was confusing, the signals were mixed, the patience was tested, and the mistakes were made.

In my weakness, He made me strong. In the silence, His voice rang true. In the long nights, His love carried me. In my pride, He taught me brokenness. In my error, He not only showed mercy, but poured out grace. In my desperation, He turned my eyes to Himself.  In my need, He filled my soul. At every height and depth, He proved Himself to be who He says He is. Even those seeming trials are, through the lens of eternity, grace.

At the Advent of Christ, I’m sure many people thought He was a mistake. Mary and Joseph’s mistake, for, by all appearances, conceiving a child before a wedding had taken place. Their parents’ mistake, for not “raising them well enough.” Their peers’ mistake, for not holding them accountable. God’s mistake, for letting it happen. And yet, who is the Christ child but the greatest grace for the greatest deficit?

My prayer is not that each of you have a perfect Christmas, but that you are filled with hope as you rejoice in the beauty of imperfection and the miracle of unseen grace. Blessings for a celebration full of Christ, full of the very Gospel.

One day, He will make all things new. Come, Lord Jesus.

Merry Christmas,

Noelle

…When the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, [Simeon] took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now You are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.”

Luke 2: 27-32 ESV (emphasis added)

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8 thoughts on “A Christmas Letter

  1. “My prayer is not that each of you have a perfect Christmas, but that you are filled with hope as you rejoice in the beauty of imperfection and the miracle of unseen grace.”

    Your prayer may have been answered tonight in my Christmas. Thank you for helping me see that.

    Hope you had a blessed Christmas Noelle.

    ~ Tim

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