Christmas can be a wonderful time of year. Great food, time with family, giving and receiving gifts. As Christians we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus, the greatest gift ever given.
But even for the Christian, Christmas can be a difficult time. Sometimes things don’t go the way we want. Sometimes family relationships are strained, so coming together brings tension. Or sometimes complicated schedules make it impossible for everyone to be together. Maybe a tight budget makes gift buying stressful. Maybe it’s the first Christmas after the loss a loved one, or a divorce. Or maybe you’re single and it’s yet another Christmas spent feeling alone, and though you feel you should be happy, you’re fighting sadness instead. Or the hustle and bustle of the season, which is exciting for some, just causes stress and anxiety for you.
The fact is we often have high expectations of the way Christmas SHOULD be. In our minds we have an idea of the way things should go, or what would make this time of year perfect and special, but reality can be far from that ideal. And when it is, we are disappointed, depressed even.
Even the beauty and wonder of Christmas is touched by sin. A time when we think everything should be happy and perfect can actually be the most difficult time of year. So how can disappointment be a gift?
What if it serves to remind us once again of our great need for a savior? What if when things don’t turn out the way we hoped, instead of feeling depressed, we remember that the baby we celebrate grew up to right all that is wrong in this world? We were not created for brokenness, but for wholeness and reconciliation with our Creator. Because of the gospel- Jesus took on flesh, became Emmanuel, lived a life pleasing to the Father, died on the cross in our place and defeated sin and death when he rose from the grave- our hope isn’t in the perfect Christmas experience, but in a perfect Savior.
Even more, what if our feelings cause us to long even more for Jesus’ return? Not only do we hope in what He has already done, but in what He will do when He comes again. The brokenness that we experience now will be no more, our tears will be wiped away and all will be made new. This pain and these difficulties are light and momentary compared to the glory that is to come. What a wonderful promise that is!
So as you go this Christmas season, wherever you go, remember that you take the hope, joy and peace, that our world so desperately needs, and that is only found in Jesus. Merry Christmas!