Another year has come and gone, and I find myself in the midst of Christmastime again. The ache of Christmas is prevalent.

I don’t know about you, but for me in-between the joy and anticipation of Christmas…the lights, the presents waiting for loved ones, the Christmas eve service…there is a twinge of something familiar. A faint feeling of disquiet soul seems to lurk somewhere just beneath the surface. A sadness calls out, gently requesting an audience of one.

In the preoccupation that is planning, buying, and readying for Christmas as a season, img_2629this request for just a moment of quiet is not a high priority for me. Made to believe that the season’s to-do list is more important than the moments of being, I find myself caught up in the frenzy. As much as I try to drown out that soft tug of sorrow, it persists until the pull becomes so strong that I restlessly demand:

“What are you? What do you want with me?” It is asked with a tinge of impatient disdain. I really don’t have time for this, I think.

The days turn into weeks. I think I have mastered the uneasiness; it seems to have faded. Truthfully, I have just filled the silences with more intensity to overcome the pressure. It isn’t working. My soul is restless and craves quiet, finally, I bend to its will. This time I wonder at its presence and as I turn to face it I ask, “What are you trying to say to me?” The silence is loud at first. And then, a gentleness begins to whisper:

That longing that you feel is an echo of an invitation to turn toward the fullness of living.

It is at this moment that I finally get it, and now I extend an invitation toward contemplation to you, dear reader. While you try to overwhelm the softness of your own invitation with the must-do lists and accomplishments, you might be missing out on Presence. There is a preparation hidden within our hearts that tugs at our souls. It is opaque and undefinable, but felt all the same. Often we turn away from the depth of this longing, because it is so much easier to call it something it’s not; to pretend that we are anxious over the demands of family, of holiday parties, of the performance of the season.

It’s a lie, and it’s distracting you.

The ache of Christmas is meant to spur you on, to nudge you toward a yearning for something that is more real, more true than the surface that we’ve allowed Christmastime to become.

Christmas in all of its wondrous glory is a calling back, an encouragement to hope, a soul thirst toward Kingdom. Turn back to the simplicity of Christmas, of Christ, of relationship. Let the ache of Christmas be a welcome reminder to turn back to gentleness, to clarity, to love.