Photo albums, books, letters tied with ribbons, nick knacks of all descriptions - yes! souvenirs can be important to us.
Christmas time is a lovely time for many - filled with family, laughter, food and fun BUT unfortunately for others it can be a time of intense pain and heartache. Yes, Christmas time can be a lonely horrible time for many.
Many many families are broken - parents and children's relationship smashed beyond reconciliation, siblings not on speaking terms or parents divorced, separated or estranged. This can be the norm for countless hundreds of people. So sad, tragic really and unfortunately the pain is very very real.
These feelings can be some of the 'silent' souvenirs we carry about with us. Souvenirs that so many of us don't want to collect but are thrust upon us. Often to burden us for ever.
Every so often we take out these silent mementos, often when we are alone and re-live occasions and feelings, - a broken or wounded heart, thoughts of 'what may have been', an accusation that has left us overwhelmed, a regret here, a tragedy there.
The loss of a child, a spouse, a parent or a sibling. Our silent souvenirs are all there, waiting for us just to 'scratch the surface' of our lives and they come bubbling to the top to remind us again of a past hurt or grief.
So souvenirs can be lots of fun, nostalgic and loaded with great memories, but as you can see some souvenirs give us the feeling of emptiness - nothing left - just memories, token threads, lying in the middle of our broken hearts and lives.
So what's in your treasure chest of souvenirs? I know I have dragged mine out often and sorted and counted them - set them apart and re-lived many sad experiences and regrets.
So what do we do with these souvenirs - do we have to have keep re-living them, dragging them out and re-hurting ourselves.
Jesus wants to take our souvenirs - it's as simple and straightforward as that - of course that doesn't mean that miraculously we will stop thinking about our past hurts or current tribulations. We won't automatically find amazing solutions to mend broken hearts and families.
But God has promised to "work all things together for the good of those who love Him. who have been called according to His purpose."
This is an amazing promise, A promise to give us hope and light at the end of our tunnel of despair. With this promise we can rest assured of His great love, a love that will never let us go, never fail us and give us the assurance and confidence we all need to "get on" with our lives and press on with Him.
In Philippians 4: 6-7 Paul writes "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Notice how this passage emphasises the 'peace' of God - this peace can be so easily 'tapped' into. How? By trusting Jesus to do what he says.
We need to give our broken lives to Jesus - not only our lives, but our broken hearts, broken families and our broken relationships. He is ever ready to take our grief also - His promises are sure and true.
Psalm 55:22 says in the Message Bible version "Pile your troubles on God's shoulders - He'll carry your load, He'll help you out."
How about that! Jesus is more than willing to allow us to literally 'pile your troubles on God's shoulders' He wants to take your burdens - no matter what they are - nothing is beyond His help - nothing is too hard for Him.
Proverbs 3: 5-6 states among other things to "Trust the Lord with all your heart". Just maybe we could start to see our troubles, grief or whatever as the perfect way to start trusting God with all of our hearts and then we may be able to see that God is indeed bigger than all of them put together.
So, taking one step at a time and praying for God's word to guide us, we can hand all of our 'souvenirs' to Jesus. We ask Him to take our burdens, whatever they are, and trust/depend on Him to do what he has promised.
God bless you this Christmas - may you be filled with the peace of Jesus as you submit to Him as Lord of your life.