This year has burdened me in ways no other year has. It has taught me, seen me cry on the bathroom floor, seen me laugh until I was so red in the face I couldn’t breathe, it has seen the look on my face when no one is around, it has seen the glimmer in my eyes when I witness miracles of life at work (first child’s steps, first words, new babies, new life glimmering all around). It has been quite a 2011. Not at all what I had in mind and yet exactly what He had in mind. I’ll be honest I don’t understand it yet; I’m still searching for peace for the way my world had changed. I have experienced death: physical, emotional, and spiritual. I have stood before an open casket, knees buckling, holding tighter than I knew I could to my sister’s hand. I have experienced the loss of close, intimate friendships and fellowship that I grew to adore in my four years in PA. I have felt distant from God sometimes in my pain and then ever closer. But I’m here to declare that I am beginning to learn true and utter joy and being content regardless of my circumstances. I am realizing, more than ever, how desperate I am. And that’s where true joy comes. I am so deeply ecstatic to spend the next few days and hours soaking in what we celebrate each year: my Savior’s birth. A birthday unlike any other after a long season of waiting. I have appreciated so much the metaphor of Advent season for my life. There is HOPE, there is a real HOPE that exists to come. I am not sure what has burdened you this year or what has overwhelmed you with blessing, but I do know that seasons come and go, and to learn to be present in your current day whatever that entails is priceless. I have friends in seasons of deep grief and loneliness, and friends starting new and exciting seasons of life with marriage and babies. Wherever you find yourself, I hope you will take a moment to rest in His presence. He loves you far greater than we’ll ever comprehend.

So for every person wondering when the mourning will stop, when the finances will be available, when the job will open up, when the soul mate will meet you, hang tight, there are so many little blossoms and stories you don’t want to miss along the journey. It will make you stronger, and more multi-faceted than before.

all my Christmastime joy and love,

jengadi jean