This is the first time that I have been sad during the Christmas season. Even four years ago, in the midst of the craziness of a niece arriving, my sister getting married, being 8 months pregnant, and my mom getting paralyzed from Guillian Barre, I was not sad. Stressed, yes. But I was still able to bask in the glow of the holiday and have it warm through my soul. But this year its different. I am… sad and hurting. I miss Grandma; its just hurts. And I may be able to smile on the outside, but I feel like its such a façade.
Last week our pastor gave a sermon that I’ve been unable to stop thinking about. He started by talking about two American stories, Jovan Belcher and Christopher Krumm. Both stories happened within days of each other, both haunting, tragic, and sad. Both stories so indicative of the hurt and pain that never becomes more acute than during the holidays.
I think of the pain many face this holiday season. Of the wife who faces her first Christmas without her husband, who won’t be there to share in the joy and excitement of their little ones. Of the mother who takes the requisite photo of her children under the tree, and knows that one is missing from the shot because of a premature death. Of the family who has no income and no idea how they’re going to buy groceries, let alone Christmas gifts. Of the couple who’s struggling with infertility and yet at every turn, are reminded that there are no stockings to hang or traditions to start. This world is full of pain and hurt. Its messy.
And He knew that… He knew this world was a hopeless and dark place. The moment sin entered the world through that first bite, the first act of disobedience and pride, the world was a fallen place. Void of any true light. He knew this world needed to be saved from itself, it needed a savior.
Enter a baby. Born to a virgin mother. In the humblest of places. Placed in a feeding trough. Fully God, completely holy, the Great I Am. Come to save you. To save me. To offer hope.
I look around, at the faces of the crowds as they sweep by me in the malls and the stores. I wonder at their stories, what pain or hurt they’re hiding behind their hurried and absent smiles. I wonder if they’re facing the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job… I wonder who they wish they were celebrating with this year… I wonder at the circumstances in their lives. Do they know there’s a brighter hope? Do they know there’s one who cares and hurts with them? Who loved them so much that He was willing to sacrifice His own son to offer the world a savior? And is it not our jobs to shout that glorious news from the rooftops?
I know that Christmas is full of warmth and joy, of family and friends, of baking and caroling, of being together. But there’s another side, and its one seldom discussed or talked about, one in which there seems to be no hope or happy endings. But I’m here to tell you there is… and its yours for the taking. All you have to do is ask…
Praying you come to know the hope in Jesus Christ this Christmas season! I promise it’s the only hope you’ll ever need.