About the Author

Aliza Latta is a Canadian writer, artist, and author, who is a huge fan of telling stories. Her artwork and writing has been featured in publications for LifeWay, Dayspring, and (in)courage. She is always searching for the goodness of God, even when she has to squint to see it.

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  1. Aliza,
    So true…since we are human both fear and faith can coexist, both belief and doubt. Joy and sorrow are often a mix at this time of the year. The holidays have a way of holding up a magnifying glass to what’s not right in our lives (missing loved ones, dysfunction among family, illness, loneliness, you name it). All the more reason for us to bring our baggage, whatever it may be, and come….come to the manger. Gaze upon God made man so that He could intimately know our struggles and pain. Know that we are seen, loved, and whatever our circumstances, God has it under control. Our joy isn’t in superficial merriment, but in the fact that God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son for us – to be our companion in this lifetime and giver of grace. and to give us the promise of eternity without the pain. Sharing with you in a mix of joy and sorrow this Christmas. You are not alone. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of the world through your nephew’s eyes. Love the wide-eyed wonder!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  2. Three year olds have so much room for joy! And exuberance! Thanks for sharing how that little guy in the puffy blue coat opened your eyes to the mystery of celebration sitting in the chair beside lament. Every Christmas celebration on this planet will be a reenactment of Jesus coming to “make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.”
    Thanks for the glorious truth that, in the meantime, He is here and He is near.

  3. Aliza,

    The holidays have a way of bringing out the worst & best in us. We feel our grief so much more. Joy can be hard to find at times. It takes a concentrated effort to look really look at the manger & see a baby in a feeding trough. Thinking hard on the fact that He left the splendor of Heaven for us. Gaze at Mary & Joseph two young teenagers who obeyed God. These holidays mark the second year I will be missing both parents. My in-laws are not doing well physically. It is super hard on my hubby who sees all kinds of illness, dementia, health issues on a weekly basis. hard to have the Joy & merriment in songs. We need to realize Christmas is more than gifts & cute songs. It is about a baby boy who came to Earth to bring us joy true joy from Heaven. Listen to the song “Cloverton’s A Hallelujah Christmas”. It states the whole Christmas & Easter stories. No one is alone in their griefs this year. I will pray for all. Let’s all be manger tramps this year & gaze upon a boy who “Left Heaven” for us.

    Blessings 🙂

    • “Thinking hard on the fact that He left the splendor of Heaven for us”… I love that, Beth. Thank you. I am so sorry to hear that your in-laws are not well. May Jesus be near to us all this Christmas. xx

  4. I found myself blogging like this 2 years ago, still struggling with it at times this year. Praise God for his inescapable presence, that he invaded this world 2,000 years ago and he invades our hearts to this day. Thank you for the reminder to experience this season with childlike faith, joy and expectation. Finding joy in making space for him!

  5. Aliza, I hear you. Thank you for saying what’s in so many of our hearts so well. I spoke recently at a Christmas gathering and one of the illustrations I used was of jingle bells (so your description of the sleigh ride drew me in!). From the outside jingle bells pretty much look the same, but it’s only when they’re shaken that they make their beautiful ringing sound. That is, unless they’re empty – in which case they make no sound. I have no idea what the “thingy” inside jingle bells is called but we have the Holy Spirit inside us for when life shakes us around. Grateful not so much for the shaking but for the way you are “jingling all the way” through your hard times. Merry Christmas & hugs.

  6. Aliza, your message is a wonderful reminder to keep our eyes on the manger … the beautiful gift of Jesus. This time of year can be so hard especially if one is experiencing grief, health issues, financial issues, etc.

    Let’s all lean into Jesus this time of year and every day. He is here, ever present and loves us with an everlasting love!!

    Merry Christmas, Aliza, the whole (in)courage team, and everyone in the (in)courage community!

    Praise God from Whom all Blessings flow! <

    Joy in Jesus,
    Lara

  7. Aliza,

    Thank you for your this post: your writing is so honest and refreshing!

    As I was getting dressed this morning, I was thinking about Christmas. It is a time of year when much energy is devoted to talking about the reason for the celebration, and documentaries discuss who Jesus was/is. I thought of all the people in Bible times who questioned: Is he a prophet? Is he a madman? Is he a Great Teacher? Who is he?

    And all they needed to know was His name: Emmanuel. God with us.

    You see, when Hagar was running from Sarai, He was El-Roi, the God who sees me. When Elijah was under a tree being fed by ravens, He was Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider. When David was running from Saul, He was El Elohim, my strong Protector. And all of these are summed up in one name: Emmanuel.

    God was with Israel in battle.

    God was with Hagar in isolation.

    God was with David in danger.

    God was with Elijah in desperation.

    God is with us. In joy and in grief. And when they mix.

    Blessings to you, my friend. I pray your Christmas holds the peace that only comes from knowing Him. <3

  8. Aliza,

    What a sweet memory that you have created with your nephew, thank-you for sharing those joyful moments with us.
    For the times when we feel torn;
    ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift’
    2 Corinthians 9:15
    I hope that you all have a blessed day,
    Penny

  9. Thank you for this reminder Aliza. So true, Christmas is here but we still have so many other things in our life that we are struggling with and it is hard to see what this season truly is about. Let us remember to keep Christmas in our hearts throughout the year, everyday…

  10. Aliza, yes, there is room for both. Our joy and our sorrow, our wonder and our grief — God understands and can hold it all. What a gift. He is with us. I need that reminder today, too. Love you, friend.

  11. Thank you for this Aliza. My heart has been troubled for years and I struggle to bring back the beautiful joy I had felt year after year at Christmas and always. If I open my heart a little more, the joy will bound forth and at the very least share a space with the sadness I feel.

    May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas <3

  12. In our humanness we can’t seem not to think more about ourselves, our troubles, our sadness, our disappointments, our, our, our…it goes on. And yet, when we turn our thoughts onto Him, The One who came for OUR sake, OUR purposes, OUR needs, His Spirit in us is greater than our human reasoning or emotions. He is the lifter of OUR head, The comforter of OUR heart, the quiet place for OUR mind.
    Peace be OURS, Rest be OURS, All is calm, with Him, near Him, and in Him.
    Thank you Jesus for loving all of us, just the way we are, human flaws and all. And saving us from the perils we face, with You, all things are possible. We love you.