Decked halls.

Festive parties.

Movies full of Christmas miracles.

Hope and joy in every heart, right?

For many, this season does bring great wonder, renewal and joy.  But just as many more are left wondering,

Where IS the Merry in Christmas?

Many families will face this Christmas with an empty chair at the family gathering, a family member passed on, a rebellious teen who has walked away.

For others, there’ll we be no gifts under the tree, no money to pay for a feast to celebrate over.

And there are others who outwardly display the joys of Christmas, yet who’s hearts are not warmed by it at all.  In it’s place there’s a brokenness, a hurt, a deep betrayal, an emptiness, a questioning.

I believe when our hearts are bleeding, we are closer to the merriness of Christmas than we may know.

Since Thanksgiving, I have received 2 of  those calls that come in the middle of the night. At the same time, my family is still adjusting to a move across the country, away from deep relationships and long established traditions.

The questions in my heart have created a shift, a re-focusing in the way I am finding the Merry in this Christmas.

We often approach the honoring of Christmas from the perspective of how good this life is and we take account of all we have.  There’s a hollowness if that is our sole focus of celebrating Christmas.  After all, as Solomon warns us in Ecclesiastes all that we have is a vapor.

Digging deeper into the hope and joy that come in Christmas, we find that they stem from sacrifice.  It comes from a realization of the truth in Jesus’ words from John 16:33 “….In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Maybe the Merry in Christmas is found not in celebrating the good in this life, but in realizing LIFE IS DIFFICULT, BUT GOD CARES ENOUGH TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

 

 

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