My Dwelling Place

I attended a Christmas party with our church this past weekend. Over 1700 single adults from all over Atlanta were there.

Some call that fun. Some call it overwhelming.
I call it both.
Oh, and I should mention that I took my dad so that he could be Santa and take pictures with everyone.

I cannot make this stuff up. It was actually really fun to see him bring so much joy to folks. Nothing like Santa to bring the child out in everyone!

I happened to meet a new friend of a friend at the party; she asked me if I was single or had been married before. When I told her I was widowed, she was shocked. She couldn’t believe that someone with my story would be at an event with so many single people with a big smile on my face.

I get that.
So I decided to respond by telling her about my dwelling place.

{We’ll come back to that in a moment.}

Last week, I had the honor of leading our staff through communion on the roof of our church. It was such a cool moment for us to be standing in a circle together, ushering in the Christmas season.

I had only planned to share a few verses from the Bible about the Lord’s Supper. Instead, I started with, ”I just want to tell you that I’m so excited about Christmas this year. And that’s a really big deal because this is the first Christmas I’ve been excited about in 5 years.”

I went on to explain that after being to the depths of the depths of sorrow…and honestly not giving a care in the world about the traditions, or songs, or overall cheer that this season typically brings…that I had gained a fresh perspective on Christmas.

That again led me into sharing about my dwelling place.

So what on earth is this dwelling place all about? Let me tell you what it’s not.

It’s not my past, and it’s not my accomplishments or my mistakes.
It’s not grief, and it’s not widowhood, though I’ve had many seasons where I’ve felt so comfortable in the depths of sorrow…that I very well made it where I dwelt.
It’s not my home I’m so grateful for, or my city that I absolutely love.
It’s not my ministry or my job, though both are things I look forward to every day.
It’s not my incredible family and friends whom I love dearly.
It’s not my fears or disappointments.
It’s not my hopes or my dreams, though I can finally say I’m believing God for good and great things for myself again…and that’s a major milestone.
It has nothing to do with my circumstances, or my emotions, or quite frankly anything I could earn on my own accord.

It has everything to do with my Savior, my God, my Redeemer, my Healer.
Jesus.

Jesus is my dwelling place.

So, I told that friend at the Singles party that I was there laughing and dancing the night away because Jesus had done a great work of healing in me. And, I told my colleagues that when everything else I loved about the Christmas season was stripped away, I realized the only thing left was Jesus. I’ve learned from first hand experience, especially over this last year, that He really is enough. He is all I need.

He is my dwelling place.

So I celebrate this season with excitement this year. It’s not about the festivities, or the presents or the decorations (though I’m quite proud of my first Christmas tree in my home in 5 years).

It’s all about the coming of the Savior to dwell with man, in the flesh, as a baby.

God with us, Emmanuel.

I love these verses from John 1:14 NIV:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

This Christmas season is one I’ll never forget. I’m so very grateful to be excited about Christmas again.

Dearly loved, in my dwelling place,
Melissa