Links Daily Devotional

Honest Ambivalence

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NIV)

December is a month filled with ambivalence—“simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action” (Mirriam-Webster Dictionary). The joy felt through holiday greetings, gift giving, parties, and the celebration of the birth of Jesus can bump up against sadness, mourning, loneliness, and hearts filled with little or no hope.

The recent tragedy in Connecticut has deepened these conflicting emotions for many of us. During a time when we are celebrating the season of Advent, we find ourselves angry, mourning, and searching for answers on how to stop evil. The only place we will find rest in the middle of this ambivalence is in the truth that God’s presence became flesh and dwelled among his people, revealing his glory, grace, and truth through a baby named Jesus.

My church experience has not always included focusing on each week of Advent, so this year I set out to ponder the hope, peace, love, and joy observed leading up to Christmas morning. What I have discovered is how my ambivalence keeps me from caring for my heart and resting in God’s presence.

I am learning, however, that it’s normal to feel conflicting emotions. How we choose to respond to these emotions will determine the way we show up in our relationships and life circumstances. Do we stay in the tension of our feelings and remain tenderhearted, or do we disconnect and distance ourselves? Personally, I am experiencing a lot of ambivalence this Christmas season, and it has been a challenge to find space in my heart for hope, peace, love, and joy.

As I was browsing through different devotionals for Advent, the Lord showed me today’s passage. It felt like a cool drink of water for my thirsty soul. The apostle John’s words are the reason why we celebrate Advent and look forward to Christmas morning. Regardless of the ambivalence we feel, there is hope in the fact that the Word, Jesus, became flesh and dwells in his people (us). The peace we long for is available because of the glory of the One and only, our Heavenly Father. God came in an unlikely and humble place revealing how much he loves us. And as we express our gratitude for God’s grace and truth, joy will permeate our hearts.

Whether we are in the days leading up to Christmas morning or in the days that follow, we need to be honest about the ambivalence we feel. This is being kind to our hearts and creates space to live with hope, peace, love, and joy.

Tracy Hanson

December 20, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.