merry & bright…

I first posted this blog a year ago. I’m reposting it as it is a good reminder that while Christmas is nearly here, all is not “merry and bright” for most people. The recent deaths and destruction caused by the tornadoes and other natural disasters around the world, the pandemic, loss of loved ones, especially around the holidays…remind us all that for some, it’s not the happiest time of the year.

I’ve made a few updates…forgive me for the repeat. But I needed the reminder.

I think there must be something wrong with me. Christmas is here but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.
Charlie Brown

It’s Christmas time. Bells are ringing, children singing. A season for parties and family and celebration.

But for many people…it’s not.

It’s one week before Christmas. Children are watching, anxiously waiting to see what Santa will bring them. Parents are watching, waiting for the best deals and waiting in line. Retailers are watching, waiting to see this year’s profit margin.

Watching…

Watching the Christmas shows and feeling even lonelier than before. Watching families, laughing and smiling, and having no one to share it with. Watching a loved one as they struggle to breathe and wondering if each breath will be their last.

Watching as someone else gets the promotion. Gets the spot on the team. Wins the prize you’ve longed for. Watching as tornadoes devastate and floods claim lives.

Waiting…

Waiting for test results…is it cancer? Or has the cancer returned? Will my child be able to beat his addiction…this time? Waiting to see if I passed the test. Will I get the job? Will we have enough money to pay the rent? The electric bill?

Waiting…for the phone to ring. For someone to visit. For a friendly word or a smile. Waiting to be loved, to be wanted and needed. To be valued.

It’s called the most wonderful time of the year. And, if you have blinders on, you just might be able to believe that.

For many people, this Christmas will be a first. The first without a loved one. The first without a job. The first since a divorce. The list goes on and on.

The media gives us a distorted vision of what Christmas is all about. Perfect families, around tables overflowing with food, Christmas trees with so many presents you could not count them. We are expected to be happy…to celebrate. To shut off or shut out the unpleasantness that this world brings, without discrimination or prejudice. Even in a little town, two thousand years ago, the birth of a small child was surrounded with more than just anticipation and excitement.

So, what do we do? How do we get Christmas back in focus? 

By remembering what Christmas is all about to begin with.

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth – John 1:14

This Christmas, while you are anticipating the coming of our Lord, take a look around you. Watch for the lonely. Watch for those who need an extra smile as they ring up your purchases. Watch for those you haven’t seen in a while…and check in on them, to let them know someone cares.

Wait for the lost. Wait for those who shuffle slowly out of church. Hold the door for that parent, balancing children and groceries. Wait with those who are lonely or expecting news from a doctor. Wait on those who cannot do for themselves. Wait with those who are mournful.

Christmas should be a time of joy…even if all is not merry and bright. Read the Luke’s account of the Christmas story…think of that tiny baby that came that we might be saved.

While you are watching and waiting, do so with the eyes of Christ. For what better way to celebrate his birth, than by celebrating his life.

Come thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee…

-Charles Wesley

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