Senseless, untimely deaths.
Loneliness and depression.
Weariness and fear.
All juxtaposed against the holiday that’s supposed to be happy.
Approaching Christmas in December seems to press on the tender, raw places in our lives. We’re more aware of our loved ones’ absences because we’re rightly accustomed to gathering with them to celebrate. The world around us seems to go merrily on its way while we bear our burdens. Somehow, facing such difficult circumstances during December seems more unjust.
We desire for Christmas and Advent to be joyful. We want to enjoy togetherness with friends and family. We anticipate sharing meals with loved ones. We look forward to reminiscing over happy moments gone by.
And all of that is good. When something hinders our hopes for mirthful Christmas celebration, it feels wrong somehow, doesn’t it?
But, in truth, nothing could be more fitting.
Hear me out.
It is the very tragedies of our lives that precipitated the coming of the Christ. Pain and joy are inextricably linked in Christmas. Jesus’s birth (and death) mark the end to the painful circumstances in our lives. While we certainly don’t experience the fullness of it on earth, it was His birth that set in motion redemption from the manifest curse.
In our fallen world, we are subject to death. He brings victory.
1 Corinthians 15:54-58
In our brokenness we fail one another and Him. He forgives and restores.
1 John 1:9
We fear for our future. He provides for our needs.
We walk through darkness. He is with us.
We lack strength. He will never fail us.
We are weary and burdened. He brings rest.
Instead of looking at our circumstances, caught up in sadness or anger at having to deal with them during Christmas, perhaps we might turn our perspective upside-down and recognize that our brokenness and pain are the very reason He came. They must send us running to Him, as they are what sent Him to us.
It is precisely because of our suffering that we have Christmas at all.
Wishing you a Christmas filled with wonder…
may you marvel at our Immanuel.