Christmas-it can be a most magical and reverent time of year, especially for believers who find the significance in the celebration. However, it can also be an overwhelming and depressing time of the year for many who feel alone maybe for the first time or are missing a special someone present just a few months earlier.
We are bombarded with all manner of media stimulus that implies the beauty of sharing the holidays with someone else, from commercials about giving them that special gift, to Hallmark holiday movies that always end with someone finding an unexpected love at Christmas, to even many of the modern songs we hear about love during the holidays. We can’t escape the message that Christmas is for couples as well as for children. It is easy to feel left out during the holidays if you are single or worse, recently widowed. You shun dinners or parties comprised mostly of couples and you tend to stay to yourself wandering through the weeks preceding alone with your thoughts, memories or in some cases, haunts of Christmases that now seem a long time ago.
These feelings are genuine and can not be easily discounted by those who do not understand, and yet they are a result of a false perspective or narrative on the true meaning of Christmas. Santa, jewelry sales and romance movies aside, Christmas is about a commemoration of an event that changed forever the world, the incarnation, or the God becoming his own creation, the arrival of the Christ child. Among other titles, he was heralded as the Prince of Peace. He came to reconcile and restore us, to heal broken hearts, to give us worth and value and a full and fulfilling life. In the midst of stress, chaos, depression, loneliness and feelings of worthlessness, He says “I give you my peace”. Peace is hard to accept often times because it is first, an intangible, and second, a deliberate decision. It is difficult to choose peace when everything in your life feels wrong or off. Feelings, though real are often false indicators of reality. Feelings are real but thought processes and focus are often skewed.
2017 has been a tragic year that has left many families facing the holidays missing special people in their lives. From the numerous mass shootings like the one here in Las Vegas on 1 October, to the unusually devastating hurricane and fire casualties, to the constant mortality of loved ones due to incurable diseases, to the trauma and aftermath of failed relationships, there will be many empty chairs around family tables this holiday season. It may sound ironic or contradictory to suggest that the season that seems to steal our peace is the same season in which we can best find our peace. Trust me when I say I am struggling with that this year along with many of you. For the first time in forty years I am going into Christmas without that special someone to share the season with-I know-me too! But it is at this most Holy occasion that I am compelled to allow my intellect, that is my knowledge of the Christmas significance, to override my feelings of loneliness and to remind me why we celebrate and remember. There would be no Easter, no sacrifice, no triumph over death and the grave, no forgiveness of sins if not for the Virgin birth that put into motion the divine plan that is our salvation. When viewed and considered in those terms, there is nothing more meaningful or worthy of our focus than that Bethlehem birth and our reconciliation.
Yes, this will be a difficult if not different celebration for many this year missing those special people in their lives due to one event or another, but a reverent acknowledgment of the reason for the season is still possible if through your feelings of despair, you can see the star and follow your heart back to the holy nativity to be reminded that Christ came for you, for me and for all the broken people so that through the Prince of Peace we may be healed of all hurt, sorrow and discouragement. It is a gift available to all.
Please remember that my new book, Sex Begins in the Kitchen is available through Kindle as an eBook or paperback and may make a great gift for someone in your family struggling with relationship issues. I hope you will check it out. Blessings as always!