This blog may not be what you expect, especially given the title. We wish each other a merry Christmas. Which is fine, but what are we really saying? Would my wish make your Christmas merry? What good does wishing do anyways?
I’ve had many memorable Christmases over the years. I’ve had some un-merry Christmases, too. Can you relate? Oh, those expectations we place on ourselves and others, to have a “merry” Christmas.
One Christmas, 28 years ago, I was in labor with a baby girl. For those of you who have been in labor, you know that this is an exciting, but not necessarily “merry” time. Anticipatory, yes; definitely not peaceful. Unlike a young mom named Mary, I did not have my Mary (-Elizabeth Anne) until the 27th. Thankfully, I didn’t have to travel on a donkey to go to a city where there weren’t any hotel rooms, much less hospitals. I didn’t give birth to my Mary outside in a barn. I wonder just how “merry” Mary’s first Christmas was?
Then again, imagine giving birth to the Savior of all of humankind. There He was, a tiny, red, wrinkly, soft baby lying snuggled next his mama. Baby boy. Yet, God. Imagine the joy and wonder Mary felt as she pondered the awesome awareness of God’s presence that night and for many years to come.
I’ve learned over the years that Christmas is not about having a merry day. The peace that I have comes from knowing that God is with me. My heart breaks for those who are dreading Christmas this year. I’ve been there. I can relate. I am so sad that you are going through what you’re going through. And I pray–not wish–that if you are dealing with difficulties, or have sad memories of Christmases past, you would ponder the awesome awareness of God’s presence, and realize again His deep love for you, His child.
Listen to the promises God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, and plant them deep into your heart. They’re for you!
— good news for the poor
– to bind up the broken-hearted
– freedom for the captives
– release from darkness for the prisoners
– to comfort all who mourn
– that the ancient ruins will be rebuilt
– that the places long-devastated will be restored
– that you will be called priests of the Lord
– that you will be named ministers of God.
The One who was born of Mary loves you and promises to be with you–this Christmas and always! God understands your lack of merriness. But He does love you–so much that He died on the cross for you. By believing, you can know without a doubt that He has redeemed you, saved you, and promises you life everlasting. Ponder His love and His presence anew.
God bless you,