I've noticed something about Christmas this year. There are a lot of people who are hurting through it. 'Joy to the World' gets belted out from radios, choirs, joyous individuals, and entire churches but as I look around, I notice something other than carefree enjoyment of carols, lights, and tinsel. I see pain and hurt in people's eyes. Perhaps it's because of the recent and growing occurrences of terror and hate that destroy lives. Perhaps it's because we are now so connected to every corner of the globe, we have come to actually realize that 99% of the world will wake up with no Christmas or running water or adequate shelter. Perhaps it is just because the more life I live, the more I see the hurt that inevitably comes with it.
Christmas is a time of joy. From the time we are children we are geared toward Christmas being a happy, jolly time of goodwill and peace on earth. Even that great song, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day which at first decries the reality of there being any peace on earth eventually declares that yes, right WILL prevail. So what happens when that peace gets interrupted or hurt invades and pain, for the moment, prevails instead of joy? What do we do when it's hard to sing those familiar Christmas carols or wish someone a merry Christmas?
Cling. To. Christ. I think this is becoming my answer for everything these days. Just as in Sunday School where you learn that the answer is always "Jesus," so too, in life the answer is always this - cling to Christ. It is from Christ that we derive our hope and joy and peace and satisfaction and contentment and love. It is in Christ that we prevail through peace-destroying pain and walk on. It is in Christ that we live with pain and still weep tears of joy at the realization of just how good He is. It is in Christ that we must truly live and move and have our being. All else will fade or fail or break just as sure as the presents under the tree will tarnish and fade.
So this Christmas, whether you are in rapturous joy or walking your way through pain which life so often brings, take a few moments to pour out your heart to the One who makes a way for peace through pain and joy through trials. Take a moment and bow before that manger and let Him fill you with hope eternal. For hope eternal is why we celebrate Christmas at all.