I woke up this morning in a very sad place. I can’t tell you why, there is no reason for it. I had a wonderful day yesterday, and my life is incredibly rich and full. So, I don’t guess it matters why, I am just in this place and what do I do about it?
I tried pushing through it. You know, just keep on going like nothing is wrong. That didn’t help. It took me over an hour to get dressed because I kept getting distracted. I tried praying. That didn’t help either. I couldn’t quite make a connection.
So I kept telling myself, “You have no reason to feel this way. It’s Christmas. A joyful time.” That is when it hit me. As followers of Christ, we have been programmed to feel guilty when we experience emotions such as sadness, depression, anger or anxiety. We are the redeemed, we are supposed to be joyful in all circumstances, right?? We are supposed to look past our temporary problems and rest hopefully in the promises of Christ, right?? Especially at this time of the year, we are to celebrate, spread love and peace to all mankind. At least that is what the song says…
But here is the truth, as I have experienced it. There is so much sadness around this holiday. So many people and families that are suffering from loss, illness, hardship, strained relationships, you name it… The secular world would have us believe that if our circumstance doesn’t fit on the front of a postcard, then there is something wrong with us. I think sometimes the church might, inadvertently, send the same message.
We are hesitant to say that everything “isn’t all right,” because wouldn’t that be self-centered of us with all the real suffering going on in the world. Our problems are small compared to many.
I will let you in on a little secret: that is exactly why Christ came into the world. To bind up the broken hearted, to set the captives free, to bring a lightened load to the weary and burdened – that is why He came. We can rejoice because Emmanuel came in the flesh to bring hope to His people.
I don’t think Jesus expects us to gloss over our challenges at Christmastime. I think He might expect just the opposite. Acknowledge that everything in our lives isn’t perfect, and then allow Him to do what He came for: to become our great Healer and Deliverer.
I think this confession is a far more acceptable form of worship than decorating a house, putting on a plastic smile, and pretending to celebrate. I think I will really try opening my heart up to Him this year, and letting His grace flow over those dark places in my soul. I believe, in this way, I might truly experience the real meaning of Christmas.