This has been an odd season. Honestly, I usually enjoy Thanksgiving through Christmas, even the hustle and bustle as too many things make their way onto my to-do list. The fact is, I usually go nuts about Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year. But this year, well…so many things have happened, painful things, that at first I thought there is no way I can enjoy Christmas.
It’s been a reminder that Christmas isn’t always a happy time for folks. Often the loss of a loved one or simply the reminder of a loved one who has long since passed brings memories that are painful. Many, many years ago, my beloved grandmother died on Thanksgiving morning. Often that day brings back sad memories. Often there is a loss of a job that makes the holidays difficult. Several years ago my husband was laid off two weeks before Christmas. It was the same day my beloved dog died. And the same day I received a rejection on a manuscript. Then for others, they may be experiencing an estrangement from family and their heart is hurting. I, too, have felt this. I don’t know your personal struggles, but the painful events over the past few weeks have reminded me that folks are hurting this time of year.
Why is Christmas so painful more so than other holidays throughout the year? No other holiday makes the joy feel larger and the sorrow greater. I believe it’s a spiritual battle. Christmas no matter what others may say is about celebrating the birth of a baby boy sent from our heavenly Father to save the world from sin. The day is meant to bring joy and peace. Yet, so often family strife may create the exact opposite. Or peace of mind may elude us because of sorrow. I believe the Evil One, Satan, wants to steal our joy, our peace, our good will.
Whatever your circumstances are this year, don’t let the Evil One steal your joy. Joy isn’t determined by circumstance. “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord, it shall rejoice in his salvation.” Psalm 38: 9 No matter what we are experiencing, we can still rejoice at the birth of our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the salvation He has given us.
So this Christmas season, lift your eyes off your circumstances, off your weariness, off your sorrow, off your anger, and look up. Look toward the one who came to set us free from sin. The one who can bind up our wounds. The one who can heal broken relationships and marriages. The one who can restore us. The one who offers us grace. Look to the Son of the Living God. Emmanuel-God with us. The Resurrection and the Life. The Great I Am. The Word. The Alpha and the Omega. The Savior of the World. The Messiah. The Lamb of God. Our High Priest. Our Redeemer. King of kings. Lord of lords. The Prince of Peace.
Blessings to you and merry Christmas!