Togetherness… {A giveaway}


Oh Christmas Tree...I’m going to be honest… I have really struggled with writing this post. I wanted to talk about what Christmas means to me and how my faith plays a part in that. This is a timely post and while I deeply love both Christmas and my faith, and for me personally the two are intertwined, I am still on the cusp of what has been an incredibly difficult leg of my life journey. To sit here and tell you how much I adore Christmas, and this is why and this is how my family celebrates, seems so fake and contrived. Sure, we have traditions and we somehow managed to continue those traditions (for the most part) when we were apart last Christmas… But truthfully, I still cringe with so many raw and broken emotions when I think about last Christmas. It is almost like I had loved the season so deeply, and then we had a terrible break up and I feel like I can never look at it the same again…

What I want, this Christmas, is for that feeling to go away and for the magic to be restored. Before the horrible holiday season of 2015, my youngest daughter and I loved cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies. We all loved our trips to the city to watch black and white Christmas movies on the big screen. We bought special outfits to dress up in for our annual “family date.” Last year we had tickets to Newsies. Chw and Gen went alone, of course. On my wall of Playbills, that one hangs there screaming at me of all the mistakes I have made, ways I have both wounded and been wounded, and all that was broken when adulthood just got too hard.

For me Christmas means so many things, different things than they did before last December, but possibly that is simply a part of growing up. Whenever life is hard, or hurts, it seems like the holidays accentuate that. Two Decembers ago, we sat in a New Jersey hospital, afraid that someone dear to us would not wake up. Last December I unpacked my life in the last place I wanted to be, going through the motions of what I felt like I was supposed to be doing, while dying more and more, and more on the inside. Having a faith in Jesus gives my heart reason to celebrate Christmas. Having a faith in Jesus is perhaps the only thing that stopped me from not ending my life last Christmas day when I finally woke up to the reality of life crashing down all around me. Today, in this season, I am not one hundred percent clear about how my faith and the holidays fit together. I could write up some plastic piece which sounds right, and is something I probably would have felt 14 months ago. I don’t want to be that person. Last Christmas looms, in my mind, like the boogeyman. I feel overwhelmed with this need to make up for it, to make it better, to be better and to never be there again. Gone is the magic or sentiment of any beautiful Christmas before, as the shadow of last Christmas hides them all. The Hallmark movies were unbearable for me to sit through, and I saw this play out in Gen as well, though we both tried to force it for a while. It only feels like Christmas because of the sparkly tree and gift wrap. Unspokenly, for me, it all feels so terrifying and like I don’t belong.

It is that last little bit, which has navigated me through. It has driven me as I focus on acts of kindness towards others. We’ve sponsored a family, bought gifts for a young girl and I have tried so very hard to spread genuine kindness and cheer to an increasing number of people who want no part of either. Perhaps this bleak and overwhelming fear I feel is closer to what many feel, where Christmas is concerned.

For me Christmas means Togetherness… Together, an honest connection between my faith and my action. Together with friends and family, wherever we’re at, no fakeness needed. Together within myself. Allowing me to be right where I am at, not drowning within the sea of my expectations and personal disappointment. Holding it together, keeping it together, reaching out, connecting and moving through this season together in every possible way the word can be… Together with God, together with loved ones. Slowly glueing my pieces back in place.

In what has been the absolute worst year of my life, I have had a few bright spots. Two of these come in the forms of really lovely films I’ve had the privilege of writing a bit about before. I loved both of these movies a great deal.

Hillsong: Let Hope Rise follows Hillsong United as they share a bit of their journey both as a band, and individually. It is a moving showcase in the dark days we face, coupled with how God can truly do the unexpected in our lives. As I have said here before, Hillsong has played such a vital part in my year and growth. I truly love this movie for its authenticity and relevance.

Greater is the inspiring true story of college football player Brandon Burlsworth. His journey is one that taught me so much about my own faith and how I live my life. There are not enough things I could say…

BOTH films are releasing on Blu-ray/DVD Tuesday December 20th, just in time for Christmas. I am giving away a movie night bundle to a reader, including copies of BOTH films. Simply comment on THIS POST by December 20th, at 12 a.m. with what Christmas means to you, to be entered.

20 thoughts on “Togetherness… {A giveaway}

  1. We’ve been through some dark Christmases. Ones when it was impossible to keep traditions or it wasn’t affordable. When we ate Japanese food on Christmas night because it was the only restaurant open. When we forced ourselves to be happy for one day, but we knew the impending pain was coming. When we tried to ignore the enormous hole in the room that one missing person leaves. The one when certain ornaments on the tree make you cry, and the year I just couldn’t find the energy to actually put ornaments on the tree. So we didn’t. I still love Christmas, but adulthood has made me love it in a different way. I do the best I can, and then I enjoy whatever it is this year. Christmas means time. Time off, time together, down time, fun time, time for hobbies, rest time.

    1. So much has happened in the last year. For you, for me, for many others. This was a Jubilee year, a year of breaking free from the things that bound us and kept us chained…and in my mind that meant JUBILATION and JOY…and this year brought heartache on the heels of heartache with momentary glimpses of amazing. But the growth we have fought for has brought us to greater heights, and for me deeper lows that have positioned me on my knees in fervent prayer latching on to a promise the Lord gave me nearly a year and a half ago. We get knocked down, but each time we rise up we grapple with the sword in our hands that is set in thick mud, our arms and legs gaining strength as we rise more determined than the time before until our foreheads become like flint and getting knocked down is just part of becoming the warrior we were always meant to be. Rising on strength that is not our own to stand before the powers and principalities that continue to threaten us and we stare them down as they turn and run knowing that the King of Creation stands behind us. We will not be shaken.

      Whew…Spirit kinda took over there….Sharing that on FB too! Keep standing Misty! The fight and your growing determination and stamina will pay off. I see a redemption of Christmas for you!

  2. Christmas is starting to mean family and childlike excitment all over again. Christmas once again feels like the hope it was meant to bring.

  3. I’ve had magical, beautiful Christmases, and I’ve had Christmases marked by pain, loss and grief. Some years it is a celebration of my faith and some years I simply have no faith at all. The one thing Christmas always, always means for me is the literal return of the light — despite the dark and cold of winter, the days slowly begin to lengthen and the promise of spring and warmth and new life takes hold. This year is tough for a few different reasons, but I’m holding fast to the knowledge that the light will return.

  4. This blog post was so timely for me …. met me exactly where I am. This past year has been a roller coaster ride of sorts and I really believed that the end of the year would be winding down with myself in the finish line. Wrong!
    Apparently, my family didn’t learn the lesson because we are walking around this mountain again — and you know? It’s ok. I’ve found a quiet contentment while everyone else seems to be running around, not noticing my pause.
    Like you, we’ve had traditions that just aren’t going to be repeated this year … and again, it’s ok because He alone is my peace!!
    So very excited to see Greater … we seen Hillsong while visiting North Caroline earlier in the year to launch a new City Reach church and it was awesome!
    Thank you Mrs Misty for offering this — and reaching beyond yourself to give.
    I love you friend!

    1. Haha …. forgot the question (and I want to make sure that I follow the rules).
      Christmas to me means that I always journey along during the month of December intently looking for that star in the sky to guide my way!
      I am NEVER disappointed … Jesus truly lights the path for which I walk.
      I’m blessed.

  5. Christmas to me is tradition. We have worked hard over the last 6-7 years to keep our traditions at Christmas, and it just makes every year more and more special.

  6. Christmas for me means, every year, having to reconcile the spirit of the season with the extra demands and expectations it brings. This is something I used to approach with bitterness, that unwelcomed tension between who I am and who God desires me to be. Martha vs. Mary. Fortunately, through His grace and over time (too much time!) I have softened and am learning to embrace the annual visitor. It prompts a raised consciousness in me of just how much I need Jesus and that is the meaning of Christmas to me.

  7. 2016 had been a whirlwind of a year… it is ending on a much sadder and heartbreaking note than I expected. Even though I have lost some of the faith that I have had… I know God still cares for my family, for me, and He just wants me to keep talking to Him. I’m angry, and He knows that… but as our loving father, He wants to hold on to every moment, and live me through this chapter.
    So, Christmas this year is different for me. I feel alone, yet I am not. I have a loving little girl that thinks the world of me. Traditions are important for me, but for me, reminding her that it is not about the gifts, but about LOVE. She came up, on her own, that she’d like to deliver cards to the local children’s hospital for children that are stuck in the hospital on Christmas. So this is what we will do, amidst our traditions, love on kiddos that may or may not get to experience Christmas outside of hospital walls again.
    One of the first churches I went to had a saying “Love Jesus, Love others, Serve the world.” I feel this has become my life goal, despite where my heart is. Because in the end, all people deserve love. ❤️

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