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Christmas brings many thoughts and feelings for me. One of my earliest memories of Christmas was lying under a tree my mom ‘made’ of blue and white dry cleaner bags, placed strategically on a frame of chicken wire my dad shaped into a tree. She then placed a single light on the inside of the tree. I remember sitting under that tree as a five-year-old and feeling so peaceful as I sat and just looked at the glowing tree. I remember feeling the love of God for me. I love Christmas. I love decorating my home. I love collecting nativities (I have a bunch of them!). I place the nativities all around my house. My tree has several nativity ornaments. I love Christmas, the beauty, the smells, the family time… I could go on…

I love Christmas because Jesus came. I love Jesus. His coming brings peace, joy, redemption and salvation. I am so grateful for Jesus. That is the JOY of Christmas. Where does the sorrow come in? Well the sorrow is the reminder of the fact that I am broken. I drink from broken cisterns. I fall short of God’s glory every day. It depresses me. I get weary. Wow, could I relate when I read the two extremes of emotions in Lamentations 3:19-23 today.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.”

Jeremiah also penned in 31:3 the Lord appeared to him from far away (in the past). I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you. (italics mine).

Perhaps as you read this blog, you think: this sounds depressing, I’m glad my husband/wife isn’t this way…

It is difficult for Manuel. The battle is real for him too. It is two extremes I battle daily, but they are most felt during Christmas.

I realized two things today as I read Lamentations. Just as joy and sorrow are two sides of a coin, the two sides in marriage are husband and wife. While I’d like to focus on Manuel’s side and measure how well he loves me when I’m in a lamented state, I should rather focus on me - what am I remembering? Jeremiah remembered God’s great love, God’s unfailing compassion, God’s never-ending mercies. This I must remember and then I must ask myself, where is your hope? How well am I loving Manuel, regardless of what is going on? I told God, for better or for worse, I’d love Manuel and be committed to him.

What are the battles of your soul, that might even create battles in your marriage? As your Christmas season begins, I pray for peace and joy for you. I pray that in the daily joy and sorrow we’d remember God’s great love and faithfulness, His unfailing compassion and His mercies that are new everyday in Jesus Christ - and I pray we’d love our spouses as Christ loves us. The Lord is our portion, let us wait for HIM!

Posted by Patti Calderon with