I've been thinking a lot this year about the range of emotions the holidays bring for each of us.
For some, it is a season of magic and wonder. They relish in the music and the lights. They gather around tables laden with food and surrounded by friends and family. They feel joyful, merry, and bright.
For others, the holidays are a hard season. They are painfully aware of family and friends who are absent from the table. They have endured a painful year and the cheer of the season only makes their pain more pointed and isolating. They see lack, loneliness, or loss.
The chipper ones don't understand why a damper is being put on their festivities and why people can't just be happy. The hurt ones don't feel like they have the space to mourn in the midst of a season of celebration. It's tricky.
But I've been reflecting this year on the power of Christ to embrace all of us during this season, regardless of which end of this spectrum we fall in.
He does bring joy and abundance. His coming is the cause of great rejoicing. Heaven could not contain its celebration and angelic hosts announced his birth with song.
His coming gives us great hope and comfort in a world that sometimes feels rather bleak, in a life that can bring unexplainable pain. He came to our world in humility, becoming like us, entering our experience of life in its dappled delights and defeats. He came to suffer. He came to redeem that suffering. And he will return - to abolish all pain, all death, all sin, all injustice. He will return to restore life to its divinely intended fullness.
So, if you are one of my friends who is rejoicing this Christmas season - rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ will all your might. He has come.
If you are one of my friends who is grieving this Christmas season - mourning a loss, seeing justice thwarted, wondering where God is in your mess - I pray you find comfort in the truth of what we celebrate this season. Our Lord Jesus Christ has come. He is with us.
Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And of His government and His peace there will be no end. Thanks be to God.