My Song for the Season: “Here Comes Heaven”

Every year, I focus on a different aspect of Christmas. I’ll usually hear a song on the radio that sticks out to me and reminds me to be conscious of whatever God is teaching me. Listening to actual Christmas music about the birth of Christ and not about drinking hot cocoa and waiting for Santa Claus is so refreshing for my soul!

The last couple of years, God has put it on my heart to pay attention to the fact that Jesus came to us. Before the Christmas season even started, I listened to Elevation Worship’s new CD Hallelujah Here Below on Spotify. On my phone, if I’m listening to a particular CD, sometimes Spotify will throw in songs from the artist that are on a different album. When the song “Here Comes Heaven” came on, I thought it was from a Christmas album. But that’s the beauty of Christian music: when we have Christ in our hearts, it is Christmas every day. This song brought tears to my eyes when I first listened to it. I knew this is what God wanted to teach me this year.

Before Christ came to Earth, the people of God did not hear a prophecy or any word from the Lord for 400 years. For centuries, people waited for salvation and peace with God. They performed their rituals in hopes that they were pleasing God, waiting to hear from Him. Little did they know that He was preparing the way for Heaven to come to Earth.

In the ninth chapter of his book, Isaiah prophecies what it would be like for the Messiah to come to Earth:

“the people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2, NIV).

When I was a kid and would have panic attacks, I would run to my parents and ask them to help me. Instead of addressing it, sometimes they would just tell me to think about something else. If I couldn’t sleep, my dad would tell me to dream of going to Florida on vacation. Just putting my attention on something else brought me such peace.

This Christmas season, I want to focus my attention on Christ. During the most depressing time of year, it is easy to get caught up in buying the right presents, filling our schedules with parties, and forcing ourselves to interact with family members we don’t like. But that’s not what Christmas is about. In fact, it’s not about us at all. Christmas is about Jesus coming to Earth, giving us peace with God, peace with others, and ultimately, peace with ourselves.

“Here Comes Heaven” is about how peace has finally come. We don’t have to strive anymore. We don’t have to wait anymore. While we shop and wait and traffic and wear our ugly Christmas sweaters to different events, we can trust that the work is finished. Jesus already took care of everything that needed to take place.

What is our response to Christ coming to Earth? Worship. Praise. Recognition. It is okay to enjoy different Christmas traditions, but at the end of the day, we need to remember the One who took away our grief, our confusion, and our enmity with God. We can now have all the fruits of the Spirit.

This year, consider what it means for Heaven to come to Earth in your life. While God has a global (universal!) perspective of His creation, He also values you and has a unique and specific plan for you. If Heaven came to you this year, what would that look like? How would your life be different? What fears wouldn’t make sense anymore? What mourning would be lifted from you? What wait will finally be over?

Photo by Sam Schooler on Unsplash


Travel is the Best Marriage Therapy

My husband and I just came back from a weekend in Ohio, just to meet my favorite band, For King and Country! Lenny knew that I’ve wanted to see them in concert since I started dating him, so we took time and money just to have this special weekend together. He found this concert and saw that the platinum package came with a meet and greet. When he asked if we could spend our vacation this year on this concert, my answer was a wholehearted yes!

As much as I tried to play it cool when I met them, my voice went up a few octaves once it was finally our turn in line. I was so excited, not just because they’re a great group, but also because they rarely come to New York, so we had to take the eight-hour drive just to get the chance to see them in concert. The concert itself was wonderful as well. They are a fun group, in addition to the other bands that were there.

Okay, maybe you didn’t catch it, so in case you didn’t, yes, we drove EIGHT HOURS to Ohio and then EIGHT HOURS back to Long Island. We were on the same road for about 450 miles, between three different states. On the long drive back home Sunday, staring at the fifteen trillionth patch of grass in Pennsylvania, I realized how much my love has grown for my husband through this vacation. I felt so close to him, not just because he helped me to accomplish my dream of seeing my favorite band, but because he was all I had on this trip.

Road trips do wonders for your love life.

There’s nothing wrong with our marriage, except that it’s new. As with anything in life, there is always room for improvement. A thriving marriage is one that grows more and more each day, so since we’ve only been married for about two years, it will only get better from this point on.

One way where I personally needed to grow was trust. There is no better way to build trust than to put yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to trust your spouse. Lenny and I drove down a road that had exits every 10 miles (which, for Long Islanders, is basically like saying you’re in the middle of nowhere). If we broke down on one of those streets, we would only have each other. We would have to survive together. I know that is a morbid thought, and probably a little overreacting, but when you have anxiety, these thoughts are pretty normal. You always want to have a back-up plan. You always want to have a way out of the situation in case the worst happens.

As we drove, I realized that I kind of liked being alone with Lenny. We were in the middle of nowhere and we were in unfamiliar territory, but we were together, and that made it special. I truly learned the meaning of “Home is where the heart is” through this time. It didn’t matter how long we were in the car together. We learned to conquer traffic, making our snacks last the whole trip, impatience over driving in Pennsylvania for hours, and waiting for rest stops to stretch our legs, together. Sorry, Pennsylvania, but you’re too big. I still love you, though!

Through knowing no one but Lenny, he became my familiar territory. While having one of the coolest experiences of my life, meeting my favorite band, I was able to share that unique and fun experience with my husband. And, of course, the only thing I said to them was that “This is Love” (one of their songs) was our first dance at our wedding. So if Joel and Luke only know one thing ever about me, it has to do with Lenny. We’re a team.

The long drive also taught us to, as the old cliche says, stop and smell the roses. Pennsylvania was very big, and it took us about six hours to drive through all of it, but it was beautiful. Between every “We’re still in Pennsylvania?” we added a “Wow, what a beautiful mountain range!” We danced to the radio and made fun of the silly town names we found along the way. We learned to take a normally mundane task (driving) and make it fun.

So, on a serious note, I highly recommend taking a long trip with your spouse. See what negative emotions arise as you’re confined to a small space together. Be quick to forgive when your spouse grows impatient from hunger, thirst, or fatigue. Be honest about how you feel, and practice thankfulness and positivity along the way.  After all, in marriage, you are on a journey together.

Photo by Octavio Fossatti on Unsplash