It is Christmas. I have only wrapped a handful of gifts, and they are the ones I’ve already given away. Underneath our tree sits a lonely tree skirt. I have finished our Christmas cards, and they have been sent. I have a few more gifts to buy and cookies to bake, and then I’ll be through.
There is something missing this year, or should I say someone. Our daughter and her family moved to Georgia this year, and Christmas morning we’ll wake up without them here. It’s amazing how painful normal Christmas traditions can be when someone we love isn’t here to share it with us.
This got me to thinking of the many families who are separated not by miles only, but by continents. Some dear friends of ours have a son who lives in Africa! They won’t be together again until NEXT Christmas! Another friend’s husband died this past year and this will be her first Christmas without him – forever! We have neighbors who lost their 22 year old son in a car accident a couple of New Year’s Eves ago – Christmas will never be the same for them either.
Christmas traditions are to serve one purpose – to draw our hearts and minds to the One whom we celebrate on Christmas Day. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners! This is good news, and it is the reason we rejoice the other 364 days of the year. When our hearts are broken and our hopes beaten, we must remind ourselves that the true meaning of Christmas isn’t found in the “feel-goods” or the “visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads.” No. The true meaning of Christmas came in an unexpected way – like many of our difficulties. The Shepherds had no idea that on this night their lives would change forever. The Wise Men didn’t know that the baby they were seeking would require them to find a safe escape route – away from Herod who was inflamed with jealousy. Herod would even make a decree for all the infants under the age of two to be killed! Can you imagine the heart cries that were lifted to heaven during this time in history? It wasn’t a warm, fuzzy Christmas memory for them.
This was life. This was hardship.
Christ is our one true hope. If you are experiencing loss this year, rejoice in the fact that you have a Savior who understands. He didn’t come to make us “feel good.” He came to give us hope in the fallen world. We will still have trouble. We will still experience great loss, but our greatest need has been met. We are forgiven and ONE DAY, one glorious day, we will be with Him forever.
No more parting.
No more sorrow.
No more disappointments.
It doesn’t matter if your annual traditions take place this year or not. This is the Truth I’m speaking to myself this year to keep me from falling into self-pity. Let’s take our focus off of what we don’t have this year and celebrate the One we have from whom we can never be separated!