I was having an especially fun moment on Facebook. A friend had posted a video of the Christmas story as told by children. Just as a wisp of Christmas spirit began to materialize inside of me, the very next status update in my feed stopped me cold.
Another friend posted that a local family lost several of their own. A father, mother, their two young children and the family dog all perished in a single engine plane crash on a freeway in New Jersey.
I don’t know for sure if this Christmas is different than any other, but to me it feels… I don’t know… darker. So many people I know are facing serious financial difficulties. Others are experiencing their first Christmas without a loved one. Still others are dealing with illness. So much sadness…
I am left wondering how to reconcile this bittersweet dichotomy. What am I supposed to feel? I cannot steel myself to the pain of others. Nor can I shut out the promise of Christmas.
I sense that I am not alone in my emotional confusion. Are you there, too?
At some point, we have to choose where we put our focus. If I may make a sweeping generalization, I would say that most of us, given the choice, would prefer to relish the wonder of the season. (Have you ever noticed how people thrill to the lights at Christmastime? As beings created by the Light, we cannot help but be drawn to it.)
The darker the world gets, the more Christmas means.
A savior is coming to pull us out of the mess of our own making, to wipe away every tear, to make right all that is wrong.
In this promise, we can place our hope:
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” (Isaiah 9:2-7, NIV)
Elsewhere on the blog: A last-minute gift idea for elementary school age children.