I could write an entire blog post on how this is NOT the most wonderful time of the year, but I think that’s something most people already understand. I used to think it was just me – that I was the only one that lacked enthusiasm for this so-called “wonderful time of year,” but my trip to the mall the other day confirmed quite the opposite.
I caught the glance of some very unhappy fellow travelers as I made my way down the crowded road. I got beat out of several parking spaces by some and brushed shoulders with others making their way very forcefully to different stores. The employees were rude and the cashiers were ruder. No one even cracked a smile, though I ferociously persisted with my attempts to make them laugh. In hindsight, the lack of smiling might have been due to my inability to be funny when I’m uncomfortable. No matter.
The lack of joy was so very evident on the faces of so many. It was as if the words “I’m hurting” had been branded to their foreheads, though I wondered what specific pain was behind each solemn gaze. Perhaps its news that the cancer has spread or that Christmas will now be spent crowded around a hospital bed. Maybe its one less person to shop for or someone missing from the dinner table. Maybe its spending another Christmas alone or maybe its being surrounded by so many, yet feeling like the outcast. Maybe its failure to ever feel good enough in the eyes of those who should love you the most or maybe its loneliness. My own personal difficulties usually tend to cloud my vision, selfishly making me unable to see past my own pain. This year however, I’ve sensed a deep sadness and seen an immense amount of people that look noticeably burdened.
My heart aches for those with struggles that I cannot even relate to, and even more for the ones that I can. Grief, pain, sin, struggles- they’re all hard, and holidays make them harder. It hurts a little more and it stings a little deeper.
But there is good news.
Jesus came to earth. He wore flesh and was familiarized with every form of sorrow and suffering, yet remained faithful to His purpose and died a redemptive death for you and me. He knows every kind of pain known to man, including a pain we will never suffer- death on a cross. Out of nothing but undeserved grace and sacrificial love, He traded His life for ours. He gave His best for our very worst.
That, my friends, is the good news of Christmas. THAT is why we have reason to celebrate. THAT is why we have reason to rejoice. Not because life is lovely and void of suffering, but because one day it will be. So though we hurt, we hurt with hope.
He came for broken hearts, broken people, and broken families. To bring hope and meaning to a life that once lacked purpose. To fill the void. To redeem, renew and restore.
For the hurting heart, the good news becomes greater.
Whatever you’re carrying this season, remember this: the good news of a Savior is only good news because we are a people that need saving.
And He knew that, so He did that.
It may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but the gospel is still the most wonderful news of a lifetime. Know it, love it, share it!
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.”
Merry Christmas, friends!