Believe it or not, Christmas is almost here. You can gasp all you want and wonder where the last eleven months went; but, friend, time did pass and you are here now, in the season of advent. For some of you, 2019 may have been a year of mostly fond memories and hence, you are probably thrilled that the season of carols and calories is finally here. You are most likely eager to give and receive gifts to loved ones, excited to go for midnight mass and enthusiastic to post these happy memories on Instagram. Oh! tis the season. If you’re in this category of people, then consider yourself fortunate and give thanks to the Lord for blessing you thus far.
Some of you could possibly be in that category of people for whom the past eleven months, or even more, may have been unkind. Maybe you lost a loved one, encountered financial problems, experienced a life-threatening illness, or maybe, you gave your heart to someone and they broke it. If you are at the receiving end of such life blows, where your dreams and plans didn’t quite work out the way you hoped they would, then chances are that you are not all that excited to greet this Christmas with the same enthusiasm as your ten-year-old self would.
For those of you whose season of pruning coincides with the season of good tidings, worry not, for this festival of hope is meant more for you. Christ came into the world as light, so that whoever believes in him may not remain in darkness John 12:46. Your pain matters to the Father and He is going to be your light the same way He lit the way for Mary and Joseph. Mary and Joseph had so much on their plate during the time of Jesus’ birth. They had a child on the way, no place to stay and to top it off, they had the dangerous king Herod on their trail. The birth of the saviour in no way diminished their challenges, but still, they trusted that God was with them. This is the significance of Christmas; that Emmanuel, the Lord, is with us.
Christmas is a miraculous and hopeful time because God entered the world in a full human form through His son Jesus. This crucial moment in history stirred the world with a kind of love and hope that’s unparalleled with any other force. A force that gives us the strength to abide in the Lord amidst seasons of both happiness and hardships. Yes, Christ is an important part of the Christmas experience, but so are you, and so is your pain. Christ wants you to participate in Christmas and if this means that you bring your emotional baggage instead of a ten-year-old’s enthusiasm, then bring it. Christ can handle it.
Are you wondering how one can participate in the season of togetherness, love and joy if they are alone, broke and broken this December? Well, participate by going for confession and being in a state of grace while attending mass on Christmas day. If you are alone this Christmas, volunteer at an orphanage, visit a nursing home, sponsor a kindness kit and spread the Christmas cheer to your less fortunate brothers and sisters and allow them to spread the same to you. Finally, if your pockets aren’t too deep this year, then deepen your heart by forgiving those who hurt you. Even if the person who hurt you was yourself. Remember, forgiveness is not an event, it is a process and what better time to start than at Christmas?
God loved you so much that he gave his only Son that if you believe in him, you will not perish but have eternal life
– John 3:16.
So, no matter what emotional season you’re in, God is calling you to lift up your pain and focus on His Son, who is the reason of the season. May you carry the love and hope of Christmas through every season’s trial and triumph. Merry Christmas!!