When I fantasize about a joyful Christmas morning I picture a large, freshly cut fir tree blanketed in white lights and homemade ornaments with neatly wrapped gift boxes filled with video games, designers clothes and shoes, iPads, and jewelry spilling from beneath the tree’s limbs. I imagine a large, happy family snuggled up by a roaring fire watching old movies and sipping hot chocolate without a worry on our minds. Our stomachs are full. The bills have been paid. We have everything we could possibly need. All is merry and bright.
It wasn’t until I became a single mom that I realized how lonely, alienating, and impossible a secularized and commercialized Christmas can feel. That kind of Christmas is for the prosperous and the wealthy, and it drives yet another divide between the haves and the have-nots of the world. What a great tragedy when considering that the reality of Christmas is precisely the opposite. Christmas is for the suffering, for those shrouded in darkness and despair.
It is the story of divine mercy, of God hearing the cries of terror and abuse from His people living under a tyrannical regime. It is the story of a loving God stepping into our darkness and taking the form of poverty and vulnerability and then immediately experiencing persecution in order to give us hope and salvation. Christmas is for the poor, the lonely, the childless, the grieving, the afraid. It is for the persecuted and for the refugee. Christmas is for all who are shrouded in darkness and despair.
Hear the Good News, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14). Immanuel, God is with us.
4 thoughts on “All is Merry and Bright”
Thank you, Rebekah, for your insightful message. After a happy first-paragraph image, it becomes sad to read as you relate how the dream for you, at this moment, has given way to a new reality. You sum it up very well with this line: “Christmas is for the poor, the lonely, the childless, the grieving, the afraid. It is for the persecuted and for the refugee. Christmas is for all who are shrouded in darkness and despair.” Such a true message and one easily lost as so many of us hold onto the image in your first paragraph, whether or not our lives reflect it. Grace and God bless!
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Thank you, Ward! I do think that especially in America we have made an idol of the Hallmark Christmas experience and miss so much that God wants to communicate to us through this season. I wouldn’t have begun to be aware of it had I not struggled these past few years. For that I am very grateful. I suspect a lot of people will find Advent and Christmas season very difficult this year. Blessings to you and your family!
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Than you, Rebekah, for your comment. Many no doubt will find the Season difficult this year, but those of us who trust in the Lord will get through it much better. Kudos that you were able to share this experience with us. God bless!
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