On the ride to and back from Mass yesterday, I was able to finish The Christmas Sweater, by Glenn Beck, which I had just started the night prior. Its 284 pages, but a quick read for the size and text of the novel. I'll just say I cried like a baby at the end, but none the less a happy cry. I definitely found myself relating to the emotions and the inner personal struggle, Eddie, the main character engaged in. This book is based on a true story, but a few names and events were changed, but the core meaning is of the symbolizism of the most important Christmas in his life. Here are a few exerpts that really spoke volumes to me and given me more peace of mind:
"Sometimes the gift we want most is already with us, but we have to get out of our own way to receive it."
"Animals run away from people they don't trust; most times we run away from ourselves."
"You're worth so much more, you just have to take the first step."
"Afraid to go forward...
And unable to go back."
"When you choose the path, you choose the destination."
"It's amazing how bad things can look through the wrong eyes."
"The wrong eyes?"
"Yes, wrong eyes. You're looking at the storm with the same eyes that you created it with."
"Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is believing you're worth the trip."
"You're on the other side of the storm. This is what awaits you. Not after you die, but once you start to really live."
"The real question is, who are you?"
Somehow I understood. Without the storm I couldn't know myself.
"Does everyone have to go through the storm?"
"Yes, sooner or later. But no one has ever been lost to the storm, just lost in it. What most people don't realize is that you don't have to fight the storm, you just have to stop feeding it-stop giving it power over you."
"Atonement, it's a chance to fix the unfixable and to start all over again. It begins when you forgive yourself for all you've done wrong and forgive others for all they've done to you. Your mistakes aren't mistakes anymore, they're just things that make you strong. Atonement is the great redeeming and equalizing force that leads to the fulfillment of all things. Everyone you've loved and lost. Atonement, is heaven on earth."
Glenn Beck shares at the end of the novel, more detail into his personal story, and how he had battled with alcoholism. I'll finish this with the few last words he finished the book with.
*I wonder sometimes how many of us don't face ourselves because we are convinced that we're worthy of only a certain level of happiness. We are limited by our imagination and thoughts of worthiness and joy. We become comfortable in our own misery because it is all we know. Or maybe it's just that we don't look for the "real" us because we're afraid that there isn't any real us to find.
My mom gave me the sweater, but the greatest gift was given to all of us by a loving Father in Heaven. It is the only true gift ever given to all and yet opened or appreciated by so few. It is the gift of redemption and atonement, and it sits on the top shelf, largely untouched, in the closet of our soul.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of the Christ child, but by doing so, sometimes we miss the real meaning of the season. It is what that infant, boy, and then perfect man did at the end of His ministry that makes the birth so special.
Without His death, the birth is meaningless.
For years, I didn't believe redemption as anything other than a word you hear from a preacher. I didn't think it was real. Even if it was, I didn't think I was worthy. That is a lie.
It is real.
It's not just a word; it is a life-changing force. I am worthy.
You are worthy.
We all are.*