Christmas on the hard years

Do you ever feel like Christmas has a tinge of sadness at the edges? Like you’re supposed to be merry, but this out of place melancholy lurks just behind... a melancholy you might try to ignore or hide or camouflage with twinkly lights because it isn’t supposed to be there?

I’ve been finishing up reading through Luke. It’s poignant somehow to be reading of Jesus’ crucifixion by the light of my Christmas tree. We like the story of His birth better- it seems joyful and safe and appropriate for children. But there was a sadness at the edges that isn’t shown in my kids’ cute plastic nativity set with the happy faces. There was Mary giving birth in a dirty stable. There was hateful, power-hungry Herod. And children being murdered. And Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt with little Jesus to save his life. That part of the story seems less picturesque. Put some tasteful white lights on there, quick!

Friend, may I gently suggest that Christmas isn’t just for the good years? If your heart is heavy or completely breaking this Christmas, you don’t have to pretend like it’s not - you don’t need to try to live in a false state of holly jolly. Sometimes the grieving years can be the most poignant and meaningful of all- because they can remind us of our need for the Savior, the reason He came, the fullness of His love for us.

The beauty of Christmas is more beautiful because it isn’t neat and shiny. The Lamb of God came as a sacrifice for our sin and brokenness, a ransom for our own rebellion, to bring life into death.

Is there sadness at the edges? Yes. But it’s a story of triumph and hope- because the Light of the World came into darkness, the Resurrection and the Life came to the dead and dying, the Bread of Life came to the hungry, the Good Shepherd came after His lost sheep, the Way the Truth and the Life came to make a way for those without hope. For us.

Worship with tears on our faces can be the most genuine worship of all.

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