Christmastime is supposed to be about baby Jesus, and images of Mary and Joseph peering into the manger. Animals snort and sniff the cold night air while shepherds marvel at the good news. The scent of frankincense is in the air. A time of great joy that our Savior has been born!
The cross, however, is supposed to be for Good Friday at Easter. But for some, Christmas is more about a cross than a manger.
I so desperately want to offer a gift to Jesus this December. To wrap up my heart, with the promises of last January fulfilled-relationships nurtured, self-control mastered as my waistline whittled, and a more grace-filled heart towards others. And after years of struggles with my son’s health, my chronic migraines, financial sacrifices, and some troubled relationships, I just knew that this year would bring breakthroughs.
But with only a few weeks left in 2013, the year in review does not look like what I dreamed it would be.
Can you relate?
Did your hopes for a child go unfilled?
Have all those job interviews ended in “No thank you”?
Were you able to master your tendency to be quick to anger?
Did you serve your enemy?
Have you been enduring a betrayal?
Were you able to see your child through that enormous challenge?
Jesus’ death on the cross was a gift He carried for us. In the same way, the challenges and trials of 2013 are our crosses to carry as we follow Him. Each one is a gift to give back to God. And in the middle of the muddle, we find purpose for our pain.
We stare into the empty cradle and we carry our cross. We watch someone else’s name go up on an office nameplate and we carry our cross. We recognize our weaknesses and we carry our cross. We take our enemy’s assault and we carry our cross. We feel the shame of being duped and we carry our cross. Through tears we watch our child struggle and we carry our cross.
Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23
The church doors open on Christmas Eve and we march forward under the crosses we carry and there at the feet of Jesus we lay them down. A rugged gift, the price of following in His steps.
You don’t have to look back and live with regret or wish for something different.
Acknowledging that you have carried a weight and persevered through faith, is a beautiful gift. It’s a gift to those who witnessed your character, your repentance, and your courage. And it’s a gift to the One Who understands more than anyone else what it is to shoulder a cross.
Lay it down at the manger. Place your heavy weight at the infant feet of Jesus and worship the King of Kings. Release to Him your burden and all your unmet expectations. It is a great gift. A sacrifice of praise more costly than myrrh.
For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. I Peter 2:21
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15
How was 2013 different from what you expected? Did you faithfully carry a cross that you can offer to Jesus as a sacrifice of praise?
Amber Lia www.motherofknights.com
Today, we’re excited to be giving away two of these beautiful rings (sizes made to order, available in gold or silver)!
Metanoia (Greek for “to have a change of heart”) is a line of handmade jewelry made by 22 year old actress/author, Rachael Lee , and are shipped with scripture to encourage and inspire others, making these handmade designs the perfect stocking stuffers!
10% of every purchase at Metanoia goes to ministries that help and support women like you!
For many more handmade designs, visit the Metanoia Etsy shop!
Go check out the Metanoia Etsy Shop and tell us what your favorite design is in the comments! We’ll pick a winner and announce it on the blog next Tuesday!
Thanks for sharing this! I’m feeling some unmet expectations in the past several months and there has been a painful relationship for me to deal with in the last year…my crosses being a gift to Him. Good thoughts and comforting!
I’m sorry to hear that Sharon-but thankful for your heart and willingness to offer your unmet expectations as a gift back to Him. Blessings to you for 2014!
[…] that note, I’m sharing over at The Mob Society today about what to do if 2013 wasn’t what you expected. It would bless me if you headed over and […]
I look back over the year and it wasn’t what I expected, but I do see God’s overwhelming faithfulness and grace. It started out very rough and has ended on a good note. So thankful.
So true! There are many things to be grateful for-and we can always be thankful for God’s abundant faithfulness and grace, no matter what. Glad your year is ending on a good note!!
I actually like the handmade cross ring the best. It’s simple, yet profound.
Reflecting on this past year, I, too, can relate with the sense of falling short of my expectations. Yet, it was a considerably better year than the year before. The Lord has kindly blessed uswith change and growth. Never been more excited to start off the New Year with a more hopeful outlook.
Let us all be excited!
Amen to that Stephanie!!
I really love the handmade cross ring. It’s so perfectly simple!
I don’t know. 2013 was a blur. I definitely fell short of expectations, but the year sure was rich in learning experiences. I feel strongly that the reason I went through those tough learning experiences was because I didn’t pray about things before hand. 2014 will be about praying for guidance and LISTENING to the Lord.
That is SO wise to remember Amanda-thank you for reminding us all that prayer is essential!
I’m torn between the cross ring and the twisted heart… so adorable!
As I reflect back over this year, I see God’s faithfulness and His hand that has carried me and my family through this very difficult year. I like the Elements ring and the reflective qualities that it has. It’s uniqueness reminds me of how beautiful God made me – something I find hard to believe a lot of days.
Thanks for sharing your testimony of God’s faithfulness despite a difficult year, Andrea. Blessings to you!!
I like the crisis ring. I will say that 2013 was not what I expected. So much happened, good and bad but through it all God was faithful and carried me through.
Yep, 2013 wasn’t what I hoped it would be. Both for ups and downs. Its true, as others have said, that i have seen God’s hand in all of it.
I like the cross ring. I love how simple it is, yet it gives such a message.
I could never have expected the twists and turns 2013 has taken. There have been mountain top moments and times so deep in the valley that I couldn’t even see the mountain, but God was there – every single step of the way. Thanks for this encouraging post. 🙂
Amen, Rosanne! He never leaves us nor forsakes us! Praying for a blessed 2014!
The cross ring is beautiful and so relevant to what is shared here. Thank you for sharing this. I am needing these reminders as I finish a year feeling like I have left way too many things unfinished.
This so true of many differing years and such truth as a reminder!
I can relate to what a lot of you have said. It definitely wasn’t the year I expected but God’s goodness has been there, He is so good.My favourite ring is the cross one, preferably in gold, but silver would be lovely too. I think it would be a great talking piece!
2013 was certainly a year of surprises, both fabulous and heartbreaking. We welcomed a surprise 4th baby and I recently said goodbye to a dear friend after a short and fierce battle against pancreatic cancer.I love the silver slinkie ring.
I’m so sorry for your loss DeNae! Praying God’s comfort over you!
The cross ring is beautiful. I’ve been needing daily reminders to slow down, to pray and surrender each moment to God especially during the holiday season . Sometimes having a physical reminder like this ring is a very practical way to remember to live each moment in dependence on God.
Love this post! Thank you for always pointing us to Christ! Blessings to you and your family for a beautiful joy-filled CHRISTmas!