Christmas is a beautiful season… and a hard one.
Is it a hard season for you? It is for us, too.
The Christmas season seems to magnify for a family the loss of a child, spouse, or parent who is no longer here, and how much you would give to have them back.
It reminds parents of the wayward child that you desperately want at home this Christmas.
It makes us long for the one who has abandoned their family, and how deeply their presence is missed.
The season reminds those who live on a tight budget how very tight that budget is, and how much you wish it wasn’t.
The Christmas season can make us hurt more for the hurting and feel more for those in need.
It can break our hearts for those desires that go unmet, that ones we are on our knees for day after day after day.
This season tends to amplify loss, amplify hurt, amplify needs.
It can be hard. It is hard. A deep hard that is difficult to place, but it’s there. In the midst of Christmas parties, while looking at lights in the neighborhood, as we make cookies, during the loud and quiet moments… hard moments seep in. And we feel it.
We feel the hole of what is missing, we feel our hopes that have yet to be fulfilled, we feel the want for something different, maybe the want for what used to be.
Sometimes we wish that this joyous Christmas season would pass quickly so these feelings would pass along with it. But if it did, if we hid from it, we would also miss the beauty and lessons that this bittersweet season has for us.
In this time, we desperately miss others… which also makes us so grateful for the ones we still have.
We treasure them more, we really do, because we know what it’s like to lose.
In this time, our finances are stretched… which makes us creative, frugal, fun, and simple.
We search the newspaper for tree lightings, we make cookies and look at lights for hours, we watch Christmas movies on netflix, we make gifts, we decorate ornaments, we read stories, we spend quality time as a family. Maybe we would still do these things if we were flowing with money… maybe we wouldn’t.
In this time, there are many needs around us, so many hurting, so many people that need help… and we find ways to help.
We give our time, our energy, our anything extra. We realize how much we have, even when we have little. We realize how blessed we are, how good we have it in spite of our circumstances, and we give out of our small abundance.
We love more, we love big.
In this time, we remember the little baby that was born so many years ago… to save us.
We remember the sacrifices He made, the hurt he endured for us, the pain the circumstances caused Him, the loss He felt being separated from His Father, the deep desire in His heart to save us, the hope He felt for the world.
We realize that all the pain, the hurt, the sadness we may feel this Christmas… Christ has already felt, Christ already knows… and the weight on our hearts lessens.
He knows our hearts, He knows the very specifics of what our hearts are feeling, He cares for us and weeps with us, He comforts us perfectly, and because of these things, this Christmas season is less hard… this Christmas season has joy.
This dear, sweet, little baby was born in a stable… for us. He became a man… for us. He walked this earth and felt the same emotions, the same hurts, the same losses that we do. He understands. He understands perfectly. He really does and what joy that brings me. My God, my savior, gets it!
This Christmas is a beautiful season… and a hard one.
But in spite of the hard, we will choose to focus on the beautiful, focus on the joy, focus on the amazing grace Christmas brings.
We hug our family tighter, give a bit more, love deeper, care in a way that without these hurts we would never have been able.
We use these hards to make us better, make us stronger, make us depend on our good God for every breath even more.
This Christmas season, let us use our hard to see the beauty shine even brighter.
Let us see the manger through the cross.
Let us look to Jesus, that sweet baby, our strong Savior, our perfect Messiah for our Merry Christmas.
And what a Merry Christmas it is…