Everyone seems to be traveling home for Christmas right about now. It’s a time for family, and friends, and baked goods, and Christmas on the radio. Christmas songs always seem to warm my soul, and get me feeling the spirit of the season. This is the time of year when we gather to sing the stories of Jesus. As I look ahead to this Christmas Sabbath, I can imagine the ear-to-ear grins my two teenagers, and one tween, will no doubt be wearing as we find our seats in sacrament meeting as a family. The goal will be to get them to church in a timely fashion, sans just-opened-Christmas-gifts tucked away in pockets, and if I’m lucky, reminding them to wipe the homemade cinnamon roll frosting from their faces. Each one of my children have lovely singing voices, and I can’t help but anticipate the special occasion we have this year to attend church on Christmas day, and to hear my children joyfully sing out their holy hallelujahs. Sometimes I can’t help but think of how very much my Father in Heaven, and Savior must love me.
One of my favorite Christmas songs, is really not a Christmas song at all, titled “Hallelujah,” written by Leonard Cohen, back in the 80’s. There’s a lot of speculation to its meaning, as it tells of the fall of two well-known biblical men, King David, and Sampson. But for me, I’m reminded each Christmas season of the time in my life, when much like David and Sampson, I had a broken–not a holy, Hallelujah.
One dark, late December when I was eighteen years old, I found myself sitting alone. I had come to the wrong place, with the wrong guy, and the wrong thoughts about who I really was. For the first time in a long time, I started thinking about changing my life, and then received a clear, and stirring prompting to leave. At first, I pushed back the thought. Where would I go? What would my friends think? What would the boy think? Again, the feeling came. Leave. And at that moment, I knew it was not just about leaving that place. As I walked out of the building that night, tears streamed down my face. I wasn’t just leaving that place, I knew I was leaving that life. That Christmas, I returned to church with my life in a hundred pieces. Those around me sang out songs of peace and joy, but all I had to offer God was my broken hallelujah. The very next Christmas season was very different, though. On December 3, 1999, I met the love of my life. We have been married for sixteen years, and there are still Christmas songs I hear year after year, that remind me of the Christmas the Lord gave me my husband. I know now, the Lord was anxious to bless me with the life I was meant to live.
We sometimes may believe God only wants a pure, stainless, holy hallelujah. He does not. There is nothing our loving Father in Heaven wants more this Christmas, than your broken hallelujah. He sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to provide the way to mend broken hearts and minds. This Christmas, may we know how steadfastly the Lord waits for us to return to Him, and to sing for Him our song of praise, however it must be sung. Holy, or broken, He wants you to come home this Christmas. And to bless you with the life you are meant to live.