They say that Christmas is the most wonderful time of year. Wide-eyed kids tear open their presents. The loving family is gathered around the dinner table, feasting and sharing their blessings with one another. There’s a glint in every eye and a skip in every step. What better time of year could there be but Christmas?
But for a lot of us, this simply isn’t the case. Whether it be because of tragedy, disappointment, or trials, for many of us Christmas is the long, cold reminder that things are not as they should be. This might be your first Christmas without that beloved family member, or your tenth holiday season dealing with the fallout from divorce. The circumstances of your life, whatever they might be, may not fill you with good cheer.
The good news for us is this: God gets it. He understands what you’re going through. Like the old hymn goes, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.” (Wait, that’s about God, right?) All kidding aside, God loves you deeply, and the difficult circumstances of your life – no matter what they are or how they were brought about – are his concern, too. In fact, God is so concerned about the tragedy, disappointment, and trials of your life that he invented Christmas!
We’re not always good about remembering this, but Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God, miraculously conceived in the virgin Mary, and born to us as both Savior and Lord. As Pastor Yogi so eloquently said in his message this week, Jesus came to save us from our sins. His name even means “Yahweh saves!” God looked upon humanity and our lowly estate – our sin, selfishness, and suffering – and he had compassion. He didn’t send a lightning bolt or a flood to punish us; he sent his very own Son to save us!
You may feel down this holiday season, and that’s okay. But please don’t feel hopeless. God deeply cares about you and wants to meet you in the circumstances of your life. He wants to fill you with hope. He wants to transform your character. This season may be hard for you, but it doesn’t have to be bleak. When Jesus is the light in your darkness, the darkness won’t be able to overcome you. There is hope for you this Christmas. There is always hope in Jesus.