I love holidays, but Christmas has always been my favorite. A time for family festivities, for celebrating traditions, for gatherings and parties.
Most of all for remembering the Gift of love God gave us at Christmas.
This year, however, it may be easier to hate this season than love it. To agonize through it rather than enjoy it.
The overwhelming feeling of “please let this be over”.
Why hate Christmas?
- 2020 has been a disappointment to many. With COVID, people are isolated, depression has increased, jobs have been lost, and the trust of anyone in authority has plummeted.
- All the glitz and glamour of Christmas feels disingenuous with people barely scraping by just to feed families and pay the bills.
- There won’t be the parties to attend, the gatherings to enjoy, nor the simple pleasure of connecting with friends over a meal.
- Presents will be at a premium under many trees. Budgets are tight, and what used to be a time to get what we want, many will be delighted to receive what they really need.
- Many families and friends are hurting due to death from this virus and distance from those they love. Traveling may not be as desirable because many are being cautious about exposing those who are at greater risk.
It would be easy to allow the circumstances of our current global pandemic to destroy any sense of joy that many anticipate with the coming of Christmas. It would be easier still to move through this season quickly, ignoring the chance to celebrate what hardly seems worthy of celebration.
The first Christmas, however, reflected more of the tone of what is happening this year than the jolly holiday most of us have come to expect.
A young Jewish couple from Nazareth traveled on foot ninety miles to Bethlehem for a census to be taken. The young woman was due to have a baby, One who had been promised as the Son of God. The journey was tedious, and when they arrived at their destination, there was nowhere for them to stay.
And labor set in.
The only available space was a stable, where the stench of animals permeated everything and the only place to give birth was in straw. The Son was born, wrapped in available cloths, and placed in the feeding trough.
Shepherds came to herald His birth, the lowest of the low in that culture. They smelled no better than the stable. But they were in awe of their new King, and they shared the good news with everyone they saw.
The local king, Herod, was in such a fit over a potential threat to his throne that he sent his soldiers to kill every child under the age of two in Bethlehem. The Child King escaped with his parents.
That first Christmas wasn’t full of lights and parties. It was an auspicious beginning in an unexpected place–but God knew. His purposes would be fulfilled in spite of the darkness.
This is a dark time.
Take a moment and consider how God left the glory of heaven to descend to our world of darkness and pain. To live a life of Light and Hope. To provide a Gift we can’t earn and can never deserve.
A different kind of holy day.
There is Light in darkness.