For most of us our Christmas memories as children are good ones. I’m not sure if that’s because Christmas was really better back then or if we were just oblivious to what was really going on around us because we were so excited for Santa to come.
But as we get older it seems like Christmas becomes a time of stress, sadness and disappointment for many of us. The reason holidays can be such a difficult time is because Christmas is like a huge magnifying glass that magnifies everything that is wrong in our lives, especially when it comes to relationships. Christmas seems to cause us to be so much more aware of the enormity of the fact that all the expectations we had of Christmas as a child are now mostly unmet in our adult life.
It’s the time of year when it’s never more obvious to the divorced parent that they had a failed marriage when they have to put their child on a plane and send them off to the other parent for the holidays. It’s more evident to those whose families are estranged when every commercial on TV seems to show happy families all gathering together and everyone is enjoying each other’s company. It’s never more lonely on Christmas day for the soldier who is deployed away from family as they sit alone a million miles from home. Or for the single person who has no one special to share the holiday with, Christmas is the longest day of the year.
For those who have lost loved ones the loss is magnified when the realization hits that they will never again celebrate the holiday with the one they miss so much. For the families whose marriage is in crisis, Christmas magnifies the brokenness in the home and ushers in a new level of hopelessness when everyone else seems to have it all together – or so it seems when you’re the one who’s marriage is falling apart. For the child who is on the Angel Tree because his single mom cannot afford to buy gifts, his situation is magnified as all the other kids in class talk about what they’re getting for Christmas this year. He just hopes he gets picked so he’ll get something and won’t be embarassed when everyone asks what he got when they return to school.
Christmas is not easy for everyone. If you are one of the fortunate ones whose family has strong, healthly relationships and the get togethers are special moments where memories are made, please take time to give thanks that you are richly blessed. If you are like so many others whose situation is magnified this time of year and you are accutely aware of the failures, hurts, losses and disappointments in your life please take time to give thanks. No matter what your situation is and no matter how hopeless the holidays make you feel, you can still find hope in the one who’s birth is magnified in the songs you hear over and over every where you go. In the words of “O Holy Night” – long lay the world in sin and error pining, til he appeared and the soul felt it’s worth. The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees. O hear the angel voices, O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
You see, this is the time of year that we long for in our souls. We have long been in sin and error but Jesus was born and finally our souls felt worthy. We should feel the thrill of hope, we should be rejoicing and falling on our knees because our Savior was born. We no longer have to live feeling hopeless and in despair because, through His birth, everything is new and glorious. We don’t have to live consumed by our circumstances and the enormity of our failures, shortcomings and mistakes. We can seek the One who came to save us and in Him find the peace that we so long for. Don’t spend another Christmas feeling overwhelmed at the magnitude of this life and all it’s shortcomings. The things of this world will never bring us the joy our soul seeks. It’s only in the Savior, the Christ who was born on that holy night so long ago that we will truly find the peace and joy we so deeply long for. Let this Christmas be the one that you fall on your knees and receive His forgiveness and salvation. You can awaken tomorrow to a new and glorious morning where the only thing magnified in your life is His love for you.