Our Christmas tree was a little 3 foot tall cactus we found after our family went to a random house that sold plants. We were slowly wandering into this yard as the 98 degrees and blaring heat of the sun blistered our shoulders that first Brazilian December. I had spent the previous 2 days randomly weeping as I went on what felt like an endless scavenger hunt for traditional Christmas decor. I just wanted to feel all the Christmas feels.
That cactus reminds me of how the Lord had stripped me of many of the comforts and enjoyable non-bad things that I loved about the traditional Christmas I had always known. It was painful and it created an emptiness in me that I couldn’t explain, but I could feel it with all the depths of my soul.
After Christmas Day, I journaled:
What an amazing Christmas we have had. It was the first Christmas in my life where I have been so full of peace and joy. All I had to hold on to was that Christ was born. Our True Saviour was born and Hope exists. And that was all I needed. Even though I had a longing for my usual physical comforts, the Holy Spirit intervened and gave me the most comfort that I had ever had.
Just like how that cactus was all prickly and painful on the outside was my first Christmas in Brazil. But that cactus has water inside and I went through that situation learning how to be filled up on the living water fountain of Christ. And it was the most for filling thing I have ever had.
I have learned that in the times when I feel emptied, God creates deep luscious roots in me to grow and anchor me into the hope I have in Him.