Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Just Doesn't "Feel Like Christmas"

"It just doesn't feel like Christmas." I've found myself saying this phrase a few times over the past two weeks. Many of you know my mom has been fighting a battle with ovarian cancer for the past two years, and now her battle is coming to an end. Not because she's lost, but because she is winning and gets to go home and walk with Jesus soon. She has victory in Him. So this Christmas season has been a little...well, a lot different for us.

So, what makes Christmas "feel like Christmas?"
- cold weather
- sing-along Christmas songs
- putting up the Christmas tree
- buying and wrapping presents
- seeing presents under the tree
- spending time with family
- watching Christmas movies
- sitting by the fire

These are typically the things that make Christmas.... Christmas. No matter how much we may say that Christ is the center, He still gets put on the back burner. And in an effort to solidify our claim that Christ is indeed the focus, we might pull out our Bible on Christmas morning, read about the birth of Christ and pray before we tear into all the pretty wrappings under the tree.

This year has been a reality check for our family. All those things that make Christmas "feel like Christmas" really haven't mattered this year. For the first time I have truly seen just how meaningless and futile all the hustle and bustle really is. Fretting over that perfect gift or panicking over the last-minute ones. Getting the ribbons and bows on your tree just right. Being the most creative or "Pinterest-worthy" with your gift wrapping.


What does matter....is hope. When all the glitz and glamor are stripped away, it may seem like there is nothing left to celebrate. Somehow Jesus has become an afterthought, or a thought only saved for the Christmas Eve service at church, and then it's back to gingerbread houses, Christmas movies and candy canes. But what if all those things are taken away from you? What if your only reason to rejoice really is the birth of our Savior? Can you really rejoice in that? No presents. No stockings. No traditions. Just Jesus. 

This is basically what our family is experiencing this Christmas season - just Jesus.
These past two weeks we have been watching and waiting for my mom to enter her final days and final moments. What do you buy someone who will no longer be here in just a few short moments? It's an odd question. But the answer is easy. It's nothing. You don't buy them anything because you realize they are leaving this earth - going to another home where they can't take anything with them. This is ultimately the reality for all of us.


This earth is not our home. Nothing here can satisfy us. Nothing can bring us joy. Nothing can fill the hole in our hearts that is a Jesus-shaped puzzle piece.

So while this Christmas has been drastically different from any other I've experienced, I realize more than ever how thankful I am for Jesus. For the hope He gives us. For His peace and His grace. For without these things, there would be no reason to wake up each morning. And there would also be no Christmas morning.

Yes, I am losing my mom. Very soon. Much sooner than I would have ever imagined. But I still have so much to gain. Jesus has so much in store this Christmas. It's what He wants to give us every Christmas and everyday of our lives, but somehow we become too busy, too frantic and too distracted to hear or see Him.

My husband and I have still managed to find time to buy each other a few gifts. But this year I had to really rack my brain to come up with a short wish list. Because more than that new book and some new bath products, what I really want is peace. I want joy. I want hope. I want to know that everything will be okay. That all this really does work for my good and His glory. Those things can't be bought. And those are the things that Jesus wants to give us! That's why He came! That's what Christmas is really about.

So what SHOULD make Christmas "feel like Christmas?"
- rejoicing in the fact that we have a reason to hope.
- rejoicing because He gives us peace.
- rejoicing because He satisfies our hearts.
- rejoicing in the birth of Jesus.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying family time, putting up the Christmas tree and opening presents. But I hope for myself, and for you, that these will no longer be the things that make Christmas feel like Christmas. Jesus is what makes Christmas feel like Christmas - in the hope, joy, peace and salvation He brings.


  1. Thank you for saying your mom is winning because it's truth!!
    I love all you have said and it's spot on.
    I have not walked where you and your family are walking today, but had a "different" Christmas 2 years ago (got out of hosp. Christmas Eve for Ovarian cancer surgery). Lifting many prayers and sending lots of love to you and your family!!

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  2. I have been following your Mom's blog since Kelly' Korner posted it. Your Mom has been an example of graciousness, strength, hope and love throughout this battle with cancer. Her love for her family and Jesus has been so evident in every post she wrote. Thank you for sharing her with us. This may sound strange, but I will miss her. May God hold your family tightly, lean on His strength and may His peace be with you all.

  3. Your mom has been a picture of grace. You are picking up her mantle and carrying on her legacy. Praying peace and comfort for you and your family.

  4. Well done Jordan ~ beautiful post. Your Mom's influence is clearly seen in your beautiful way with words.

  5. What a lovely, lovely post Jordan! I have followed your Mom's blog since shortly after her cancer diagnosis and what a joy it has been to follow this journey and see the awesome testimony she has been. As others have stated, she is indeed going to leave a beautiful legacy. I pray God's peace and comfort for all of you during this tough, tough time. May you feel His arms holding you close and giving you peace that only He can give. Hugs to you!

  6. Jenna,
    I too have followed your mom's blog for quite a while. I was saved at the age of 27. I am a RN and came to know Christ because of the testimony of a dying cancer patient. She just radiated Christ. I wanted what she had, such peace in dying.Now, at age 55 I am seeing my young grandchildren come to Christ. You may never know how much your mom's testimony has impacted people for Christ. God bless you as you face the loss of your beautiful mom.
    Janice Gordon
    Wilton, New Hampshire

  7. Thank you, just thank you. I am walking the same path. My dear daddy is slowly leaving us with liver cancer. Christmas this year was hard, knowing it's out last together on this side of heaven. Your words are just what I needed to hear tonight. Praying peace for all of you.

  8. So absolutely beautifully written. Your words are so true. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and your beautiful mother. I found her blog through Kelly's Korner and have been touched by her ever since. I too will miss your mom love to you all.

    Sonya Butner

  9. Very well written and insightful. I have walked this path and peace in Christ is the ONLY way you can truly have joy in difficult circumstances. Don't know your Mom, but have followed her blog, and have been blessed by her testimony. I have been praying for her...prayed for her this morning because I remembered it was her birthday. Bless you all.

  10. Hi Jordan! I've been following your moms story for awhile now and I am in awe of her grace and trust in Jesus through all of this. She is an amazing woman. I don't know her in "real life" but reading her story breaks my heart a little. I know she will see Jesus face-to-face and that will be a beautiful thing I can't help but be sad that the world is losing such an amazing woman. She's touched so many lives through her blog and the way she's lived her life. I hope she knows that.

    I'm praying for you all.

  11. That was such a beautiful message of what Christmas truly is about. I have been thinking and praying for your family these last few weeks and have been inspired by your mother's heart and spirit! God Bless your family!

  12. Wow! So true. How proud your mom would be if she could read these words. This is the gospel! He is the reason. God bless!

  13. Amen, Sister. Thank you for sharing these words. I am praying for you.

  14. You have no idea how much I can identify with this, and you. We are walking the Metestatic Ovarian path with my Grams. She moved into my Mom's house and she is her full time care taker. Diagnosed 6.5 years ago. Cancer free for 5 years, and this year it came back. It's been horrible, as you well know. My heart goes out to you right now. What has helped for me, is trying to imagine what she will do in Heaven, who she will greet first after Jesus and Grandpa. And realizing that her life is just beginning. Prayers and comfort for you from the one who knows all hurts.

  15. Amen and amen. Absolutely beautiful.

  16. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. I rejoice with you in the fact of knowing that your mother is in Heaven this day. She is whole and complete, lacking nothing! She is in the presence of our Beautiful Savior and I am sure has heard those words, "Well done good and faithful servant!" I pray for the peace and loving embrace from our compassionate Father to surround you and your family in the hours, days, and weeks ahead as you adjust to life without your mother. I found your blog through Kelly Stamps and appreciate her sharing with her blog readers about your mothers journey with cancer, so they we too could join in prayer for your mother and your entire family. I am a hospice RN and am glad your mother found comfort and symptom relief through the hospice services you all utilized. I pray that her passing was peaceful. Thank you for the beautiful entry you posted on your blog. It truly puts the meaning of Christmas into perspective. Thank you for sharing your heart! May God's peace be with you.

  17. Beautiful post. I too have experienced a December unlike any other and I have come to realize the same things you did. Christmas is about the hope we have in Jesus. When all the other things are taken away, that's what we're left with and that has to be enough. I SO enjoy the "frills" of Christmas, but they'll never again be the main focus for me, even in years when life returns more to normal. Praying God's peace over you and your family now that your mom is in His presence.

  18. Hi, Jordan, I don't know you-- just found your blog through Kelly's Korner. I am so unbelievably sorry for your loss. I lost my sweet mama three years ago, when I was just 30, and I know the immense pain your family is feeling right now. I also wanted to affirm everything you are saying. December is my hardest month. My mom made Christmas magical every year-- filled with tradition and love and presents. Not having her here has shaken me to my core and left a hole. The past 3 years I have struggled mightily with "What is Christmas." I, too, have come to the conclusion that Christmas is Christ and that, although, I long to just NOT celebrate because it is so painful, I will choose to celebrate Christ and I will decorate and be a part of the month because of Christ and because I have kids. I am praying for you as you begin your new normal without your mama. It is a hard journey and I am unbelievably thankful for the Hope of Christ. There is no way I could do this without it. May the Hope of Christ be an anchor for your soul, strong and secure-- Hebrews 6:19. Much love...

  19. Jordan rely on what you are discovering for the moments when you are filled with sadness .... the foundation whereby you will continue to build on in order to help others....exactly what God created your being for. We are standing towers for you and your family to lean on count on us

  20. This is beautiful, Jordan, I liked over from Kelly's blog, I have been praying for your mom and your family. I will continue to pray for that peace and joy you are wishing for. Your mom was a beautiful example for those near and far. I pray so hard for you this evening.