In the middle of the Christmas season, it can be so easy to see the lights, the decorations, the presents, the sweets and forget that this season is more appropriately the Advent…the coming of the Christ. By all means continue with the fun of the season, but take moments through it to remember the why behind the season.
I say this because for so many this season is painful. This season is full of heartache, of loss, of disappointment, and even despair. Frankly, I feel like this year has been quite heavy on many of us so this Christmas season just doesn’t feel the same. The burden of so much has become so hard to bear; for some that the Christmas season is just another weight. The pain of this year- and years past- for some in the wake of loss holds them captive. Captive in pain, captive in heartache, captive by grief. And when you are captive by something, you don’t have the freedom to celebrate…not really.
And that’s where my mind is stuck. I see those hurting around me who’ve endured loss. Miscarriages, death of a spouse, death of a parent, death of a sibling. Loss of all income. Brokenness of a marriage.
And I grieve because I see their hurt.
I see your hurt.
You might have experienced something painful. A loss of a close friend or family member, loss of a job and income, loss of relationships in your life, loss of your health. Maybe it wasn’t a loss. Maybe just a painful season for whatever other reasons. And maybe your painful season has been around for years or even decades. And friend, even if I don’t know your hurt, God absolutely does. He grieves with you. But more, he longs to bring you freedom from that which holds you down in despair, and grief, and pain.
And that is the Advent. The coming of Christ who brings us hope, and peace, and love, and joy.
This isn’t a superficial response to our pain. Instead, it is the very thing to heal it all. To redeem it. To take back the days that have been robbed from you. This season is not about presents. It isn’t about dinners or parties. It isn’t about a red-suited man coming down your chimney. It isn’t about watching a ball drop and starting over. None of those things will ever bring healing, hope, peace or joy. Nothing in this world is enough to fix or heal or redeem anything you’ve gone through or lost. And some of you have walked around for years wounded from pains of your youth. Some of you have been walking with your heart so heavily burdened that you forgot or have never known what it is truly like to be free. Some of you have been scarred by the wounds of others. Some of you are lost because the loss of that loved one has nearly destroyed you also. Some of you have wanted to give up because it is too much to hold.
Jesus is the hope. He is the only Hope, the only answer to your hopelessness. He is your only answer to the chaos and storm to bring you Peace. He is the only answer to fulfill you with a Love that never fails, that never wavers, that redeems us of our sin, and that frees so we can live well for Him; a Love that died on a cross for you. And He is the only answer to actually bring you Joy regardless of what is happening around you; an unshakeable joy. The Advent is the testimony of Him coming and changing everything. Its an expectation that we have that firm and solid. Friend, whatever you face right now, I pray you take the burden of your pain, your grief, your disappointment, your hurt…and lay that burden at the One that can actually be everything you’ve ever needed.