During Christmas, I Found Joy in My Deepest Wounds

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“In my deepest wounds, I saw your glory and it dazzled me.”- Saint Augustine.

Most people assume they will automatically feel cheerful during Christmas. Not only does the Church celebrate the birth of our Saviour with joy, secular society also promotes the idea that everybody is happy during this season, bombarding us with images in the media of lighthearted people giving gifts and enjoying each other’s company. In fact, there is so much pressure on people to be in good spirits during Christmas, many sink even deeper into depression when they are unable to force themselves to even crack a smile. Often, I also feel depleted and empty during the days leading up to Christmas, dismayed my emotions do not line up with my beliefs and certain there is something wrong with my spiritual life. The more I try with my own willpower to get in the Christmas spirit, the worse I feel. I am not alone. Many of notice our wounds during this joyful season.

God is God and I Am Not

You would think by now I would have learnt to simply wait for God to fill me with His joy in His own good time. For decades, the Holy Spirit has delighted in showing me who is really in charge of my emotions. For example, one year a friend dropped by on Boxing Day to give me a tall stack of hand-knitted dishcloths. Unexpected joy bubbled up instantly when I received this simple gift from a friend who was in pain herself. Foolishly, I had tried unsuccessfully to manufacture a good mood for days. It was only when Christ took my eyes off myself as I gratefully received a sign of love from my friend that God could fill my spirit with His joy. As Father Henri Nouwen explains, “real care means the willingness to help each other in making our brokenness into the gateway to joy.”     

Walking  With Wounds

Logically, I am often legitimately exhausted by Christmas morning but my own wounds seem even more apparent not only because I am tired but because I pray. Christ’s light reveals more darkness within us as we learn to live more fully in His Presence. It is true that people are only aware of their own inner darkness when it is contrasted and revealed by the Light of God. It is important, then, to really experience and taste the reality of our own inner darkness.

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
Upon those who lived in a land of gloom
a light has shone. Isaiah 9:1

As Jesus said in the Gospels, only the sick need a doctor, only those who realize they are in the dark seek the Light of Salvation. The Pharisees thought they were fine, perfect, holy even, and so they did not need or even want a saviour. Instead, they hated Christ.

Only those who realize they are in prison and that they have deep wounds will be healed and freed by Christ. “O Key of David, open the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom; come and free the prisoners of darkness!” Over and over again, I am reminded how to accept my brokenness rather than fight it with my own strength and willpower.  Only then can I discover the glory of Christ’s power in me.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2546 “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”338 The Beatitudes reveal an order of happiness and grace, of beauty and peace. Jesus celebrates the joy of the poor, to whom the Kingdom already belongs:339

When we touch our wounds, accept our spiritual poverty and stand in prayer, vulnerable but waiting expectantly, then we have the capacity to receive from God.


Copyright 2017 Melanie Jean Juneau

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About Author

Melanie Jean Juneau is a mother of nine children who blogs at joy of nine9. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, the Editor in Chief at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC & author of Echoes of the Divine.

7 Comments

  1. Blessed are the broken hearted for they shall see God. I love when you post. It is from the depth of your soul. It is the suffering and brokenness that we truly get to know God for ourselves. Just ask Job.
    It is only after we know who we are and who Jesus is that we cry out like the disciple Peter,
    “ My Lord and my God. “ To know Him is to love Him.

  2. Thanks for this beautiful post Melanie- so real and authentic and so good to talk about. I imagine it strikes a chord with many. And I truly agree- when we acknowledge being broken, the healing begins. When we are out of our own resources, HE can act….may He be born in all of us in new ways this Christmas!

  3. Those who share your walk, like myself, understand from experience what it means, to trust in God alone. The journey of surrender calls one to take His nail scare hand each day and to go where He leads and do whatever He tells you. He is near to the broken hearted and they are assured that the Heavenly Father knows best. The path has guides them to willing to let Him bless them ,then break thrm and finally pour them out to help other not be afraid to put their trust in God alone. It begins with a surrender Yes!!

    • Exactly- For me, I only surrendered when I had no other choice. Only when I hit the bottom, left with few inner resources, only then was I humble enough to trust, desperate enough to ditch my fears and pride and self-sufficiency. In a way, our journey to the heart of God starts with surrender and ends with surrender.

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