This has not been one of my merrier Christmas seasons. Just ask my family. When you’re with the people you love it’s not possible to hide your feelings.

For better or worse, I’m pretty honest. This includes when I’m feeling low.

Why I’ve been feeling this way is not nearly as important as acknowledging that for many people the holidays are hard. There are the loved ones missing. High expectations. Low budgets. Extra busy schedules. Winter colds. Not to mention in Maine this year it has been cold and rainy!

How many Christmas songs do you know about rain???

So for Advent, I could relate to Keri Wyatt Kent’s devotional, “Deeply Loved, 40 Ways in 40 Days to Experience the Heart of Jesus,” in which she writes about “The Blues.”

“I’m happy, happy, happy, happy, happy all the time,” Kent recalls singing in Sunday school as a child. Yet, who is really  this happy all the time?

When faced with the difficult task of parenting two small children, Kent fell into a slump. One way she dealt with this was by meditating on Scripture. Not the in-the-corner-with-your-eyes-closed OM kind of meditating, but simply repeating Scriptures she’d learned as a kid.

“One passage that I pulled around me like an old, comfortable bathrobe was Psalm 42,” she writes. “I would read it and sometimes sing the worship song based on the words from the King James Version: ‘As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after thee. You alone are my soul’s desire, and I long to worship three.'”

At times like these, Kent’s simple prayer was, “I panteth,” or, “A little help, God?”

“Jesus promised us trouble in this world,” Kent writes, “with joy in spite of it; but he didn’t promise us happiness every moment. However he did promise to be with us in good times and bad, which is a source of joy in my life.”

This surely is the joy Mary must’ve felt cradling her newborn son in the manager. I mean seriously, could you–being a young, homeless, new mother away from family and friends having just given birth in an animal shelter because no one would give you a room in his house hold onto one tiny spark of joy? And yet, this is exactly what Mary did.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart,” Scripture says in the second chapter of Luke.

What did she possibly have to treasure? The smelly sheep? The prickly hay? The exhaustion and pain of having just given birth?

No, Mary’s mind was on greater things–on the angels who’d appeared to the shepherds proclaiming peace, on the wonder washing over their faces when they saw the child, on the faithfulness of God.

When I too think on these things, I remember that the lowness of my current state is not too low to God. That he can meet me in Bath, Maine as easily as he met Mary in the manger. That lost children and broken hearts and family struggles are nothing new to God. As my thoughts turn to Him, my griefs and disappointments–my darkness–is overwhelmed by his light in the same way the night was pushed back by angels on that first Christmas.

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people… to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace,”  from Luke 1:68 and 79.

For the chance to win a copy of Kent’s book and more leave a post on this blong anytime through Christmas. I’ll be drawing a name on December 24th and books by other writers will also be given away each Friday through this blog hop.

Are you  struggling this Christmas? What gives you peace?

For other posts in this blog hop, click below.
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