Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Blue Christmas

Normally, Christmas is a time of joy, celebration and fun for me.  I get so excited about Christmas shopping that I start in July and finish by November.  I love decorating, putting up lights and baking. 

But this year, I have a heavier heart than normal.

Marla, a woman in my congregation who had been fighting cancer, passed away on Friday, December 13th.  Her daughter is 16.  It was her husband's birthday.

A close family friend, Bill, who was struggling with four brain tumors, had a massive stroke and died on Saturday, December 14th.  He was a grandfather to two of my friends and a close friend of my grandmother.  His death the day after Marla's hit hard.

Christmas is not a happy occasion for everyone.  

Some people are missing loved ones during the holidays.  Some are struggling with the fact that they can't give gifts to their kids.  Others don't know if this will be their last holiday season.

The holidays are dark for many. 

How do you make it okay?

How do you help them to enjoy the season?

How do you help them see the little bits of joy and peace and love in the midst of the tragedy?

I don't know.

I can't imagine what missing a loved one feels like at the holidays.  Everywhere are reminders of what they have lost.  How do you make that pain go away?

I don't think we can.  And I think if we're trying to make the pain go away, we're asking the wrong questions.  We've missed the point.

Christmas isn't about the festivities, the laughter, the togetherness.  Those are all great and wonderful pluses to the holiday.  But in the end, Christmas is a birthday celebration for Jesus.  And I don't think Jesus is asking us to ignore the party poopers or to show up to His celebration with huge fake smiles on our faces.

Because even in the midst of pain, we can still celebrate Jesus. 

In fact, when we're hurting, we might be able to celebrate Him even more.

So maybe we can take the pressure off of feeling happy during the holidays.  Let it be a blue Christmas for some, for a lot of people.  Because when there is darkness, Jesus is still the light of the world and that is a reason to celebrate.

Merry Christmas.  Happy Birthday, Jesus.

Soli Deo Gloria. 

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