When Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Except when it’s not. When in the midst of holly, lights, and decorations there is heartbreak, death, and sickness.
It’s the time of the year that I love baking with friends as the kitchen is full of happy chatter, delicious aromas, and warmth from the oven. It’s the time of the year that I love the magic of the season. There are festive window boxes lining the streets of Boston, carolers singing joyfully, and lights shining in the midst of the darkness.
Yet the brokenness of this world does not stop for the Christmas season. In the midst of children singing, there is a three year old girl in the hospital. We prayed over this precious little girl who is hooked up to tubes and machines to simply stay alive. This girl’s hope for a future of running and playing lies in the need of a heart and double lung transplant. Please pray for this little girl.
In the midst of laughter and friends, there is the shocking and unexpected news of two beautiful woman who died way too early. There is a young high school teacher who is gone. Tragic and cruel. There is an elementary school counselor who touched countless of lives and loved by many. Her life ended unexpectedly.
Two deaths. Countless of family, friends, and students who grieve, question, and remember.
There is a broken relationship that brings sorrow and sadness. Once again touching those who love the individuals.
And there is more. There is brokenness throughout this world. How many people in countries around the world do not have the luxury of forgetting about their problems for the most wonderful time of the year? They still experience hunger and hurt.
What makes this the most wonderful time of year? Is it the perfect Christmas tree with bright colored packages all wrapped up in string? Is it the Christmas lights, sweets, and a festive meal? Is it parties and gatherings full of people, laughter, and conversation?
It has to be more than all of this. A decorated Christmas tree does not take away sadness and pain. The perfect Christmas cookies do not ease the hunger many face around the world. No amount of gifts will bring back the person who is loved and missed by so many.
When you strip away all the lights, festivities, food, and busyness the most wonderful time of year does not feel magical. Yet the reason lies there in the darkness and brokenness of life.
Over 2,000 years ago, in the midst of a suffering world a small baby came into this earth. This helpless babe was welcomed into the cold, dark world in a feeding trough full of hay and celebrated by the smelly outcasts of society known as shepherds. How did this simple birth bring about the most wonderful time of the year? Thirty-three years after this quiet birth, the reason would appear.
This baby boy would grow to be a man who would die and take away the sins of this world. He would conquer death and rise again. He would return to heaven to sit at His father’s right hand. In Jesus, we find repair for our broken relationship with God. In Jesus, we find hope in the midst of despair. In Jesus, we find comfort and peace. In Jesus, we find eternal life. One day life will be as it’s meant to be. All pain will be gone. We will be in the glorious presence of God. Until that day,we have a God who loves us. Who came down in the midst of brokenness. Who knows what it’s like to suffer, to grieve, to feel pain and hurt.
In God, we have a Father who is compassionate and full of grace. A God who will meet us right where we are. A God who is not afraid of the tears, the questions, the anger. A God who loves us with a never ending love. A God who delights in us, simply because we belong to Him.
My prayer for the one who is grieving this Christmas season, for the one who feels a void in the midst of the festivities, for the one whose life is far from perfect… that in Christ you would find hope, comfort, and peace.