There are lots of good feelings flying around at Christmas time. Our media ads are filled with images of happy families, fireplaces, and big red bows on brand new, impossibly expensive cars. Even the gruesome swamp creatures in our capitol manage to put out friendly messages of season greetings.
Celebration is everywhere. Tis the season, after all.
But what happens when you really don’t feel like celebrating? What if you’re lonely? Mourning? Angry? Is it really Christmas if you can’t feel joy?
Our commercialized holiday season makes it easy to forget why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. The root of “Christmas” is “Christ,” of course. This is the time we have chosen to recognize and celebrate the gift of all gifts, a God become man, delivered as a baby to walk right alongside us in this wicked world. That man was crucified as a gift, and rose again as a gift, and now prepares a lavish home for us to join him in one day, as a gift.
He is comfort when we are alone, or in mourning. He is the step up when we are low. He is peace when our lives become chaos. He is sanity when everything around us seems insane. He came into a broken world, to save broken people. This baby we celebrate was not born in luxury or peace. The story of his birth is harrowing. His birthplace could not have been lower, especially for a King. Amidst the dinner preparations and the last-minute shopping, we forget how significant that is. The initial celebration of his birth was not performed in comfort, but in hope.
God came low, so low, to walk right next to you. That is the true spirit of Christmas.
If you are feeling low; poor; lonely; sad, know that you are truly surrounded by the purpose of Christmas. You are experiencing Christmas far more intimately than those perfectly happy families in those perfectly pleasant pictures. You are laying in that stable, in the dirt, right next to the one Who will save you. You couldn’t be closer to Christmas.
When Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas, that is the closest to Christmas you will ever be.