Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Message, 2014.

For some, Christmas can be a melancholy time. We may feel a sense of sadness. It can come from many different reasons in our lives. We may feel loss or loneliness. We may feel that there is so much build up, preparation, and expectation - that in the end, as it is all over so quickly, we find an aching emptiness inside of us. As much as I have always enjoyed Christmas, I must admit I have often struggled with those feelings of despondency. I lost my mom this past October, so this Christmas this will be felt in a very real way.
As I reflect on this, however, it is the very message of Christmas that gives hope. I am not referring to tinsel and greeting card sentimentality - which can seem oddly desperate to create meaning with superficiality. Instead, we see that in all the sufferings of humanity, God saw our condition and took great steps to express His love. He saw each of us in our sin, our brokenness, and sent His very own Son as the greatest love gift ever known. To fathom the sublime truth of Immanuel, “God with us”, how beautiful is this love. Here we see God brought near to us, in the flesh, to the least and poor among us. This is the hope of life in the midst of every pain.
Though in my life I miss my mom greatly, though my heart cries out against the finality of mortality, I am so grateful that God gave me such a wonderful mother. It is because He gave me such a great mom that I feel those feelings of loss. Her hope was in the Lord, I know one day I will see her again.
I find, that in life’s joyful experiences - whether Christmas or some other event - afterwards I feel a let down inside. It can feel quite heavy and seem totally contrary to what I should feel at such a time. The heart and mind yearns, even strives, to squeeze out every ounce of enjoyment one can, then comes back to what seems a mundane reality afterwards. There is one thing I have learned about this depressed reaction. We can not have our heaven now. We are clothed in mortality now; we live in a world where we feel daily the limitations of struggle. No experience of man can equal a sense of true rapture. A broken world can not bring us serenity and completeness. We wait for the consumption of our joy. It is only the One who created us who can bring these things. When we look to Him and the gift of His Son, then we are released from all the strivings and trappings of life, to see the joy in whom we have our trust. We can have that joy now only in Him. When we do, the heart is free indeed. Both now and ultimately in the satisfaction of glorious blessedness when we seem Him face to face.

May God bless you this Christmas,
Jeffrey M Green

About his year's art piece:
© Jeffrey M Green. "Mom's Cookies", 11x14", colored pencils.

This work this year features a plate of my mom's cookies. Though I had been thinking about this years theme before she went into the hospital, I got what was left over from last year out of her freezer while she was in there. She past away before I created it. I did not even know if I wanted to do a Christmas work this year, I had no heart at first for it. I finally decided to do it in order to capture the cookies she baked, as they will never be baked again.
She is known in our family, and among friends, for making huge batches of wonderful cookies for Christmas. Our family grew up on them - to me they are like going back through the years since a child in tasting them. They were truly delicious and look like they came out of a magazine. Perhaps it is fitting I could only capture what is fleetingly left from what she once did. Though this is sad, I am glad to honor her in any way I can, and am grateful God gave me such a wonderful mom in my life.

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