Christmas Highs and Lows

Paul Bankson

[This Pastor’s Pen is one I intentionally repeat every year.]

            This season is one of extremes.  As a child, we associate it with the greatest day of the year.  Our birthday would be the close second.  Christmas for us all is often painted as the most joyous time of family togetherness and warm feelings.  Many of us have Christmas memories that come close to that image.  However, we learn as we mature and grow older that Christmas can bring great sadness with it as well.  Christmas can be a time of great highs and great lows.

            For some, this will be the first Christmas without a loved one who has been a part of many Christmases before.  For others, Christmas may be a time of loneliness and sadness over relationships that are broken or strained.  Christmas, for far too many, will be something to be endured and not enjoyed.  The holidays cannot be over too soon, it seems.

            I mention that not to put a damper on Christmas traditions or celebrations but for us to realize that Christmas, like anything else in this life, often promises more than it can deliver.  It’s not the panacea that will solve all of life’s problems no matter what the Hallmark Christmas movies portray. 

            That said, the message behind the Christmas celebration is what gives joy.  At Christmas we remember the birth of the Savior. Without Christmas, there is no Easter.  Without the coming of Jesus in the flesh- the incarnation- we have no reason for true hope that one day all things will be made new.  His life, his death, his burial, and his triumphant resurrection are always the basis for lasting peace.  Christmas reminds us of God’s grace who spared not His own Son but willingly gave Him up for us, His people.

            During this season, pray for those you know that are wrestling with grief and sadness.  Now may be a time to weep with those who weep.  Pray that God will sustain them by His grace. Pray that God would cause all of us to remember the indescribable gift of His Son as a reason for celebration no matter what the calendar says.