Have you seen the news this week? Mingled in with the joy of the Christmas season, our hearts have been broken by the devastation and violence in Syria. It seems so incongruous to hear “Oh, Holy Night” streaming through my computer speakers while I read headlines of loss and suffering.
I almost feel guilty for the joy and blessings that my family and I experience this time of year. Another part of me wonders how such depths of sorrow and heights of celebration can coexist on our one little planet at the same time.
How quickly we forget that the this is exactly what Christmas is all about. God didn’t send his Son to earth because we’d been good that year. Christmas isn’t joyful because pain magically disappears. The whole point of the coming of Christ is providing hope and redemption for all that is wrong with the world. All that is wrong with us.
So if Christmas for you is purely a season of unbridled joy and celebration, that is wonderful. There is much to celebrate.
But if your Christmas season is more of a mixed bag of emotions, you’re still in good company. The very first Christmas started as one giant ball of taxes, due dates, overbooked hotels, big government, and an unplanned pregnancy.
So don’t ever think that your current (pain/sorrow/mess) precludes you from the point of Christmas. Christmas was never joyful because all was right with us and the world. The point of Christmas is that the God of the whole universe stepped down into our painful, messed up lives to carry our sorrows, pay for our sin, and heal our broken hearts.
The light of the angels is remembered because it went against the status quo. It would seem that like a candle, a Savior always shines brightest in the dark.
The tragedies of this world don’t refute or disprove the hope of Christmas. They remind us of why Christ came. And the best part?
The God who came on that very first Christmas is the same God who comes to find us wherever we are this Christmas.
If your life feels like a crowded Bethlehem or a grungy stable, take heart. I hear those are the sort of places our King likes best.
“O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A 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
O night divine!