Celebrating Christmas In Uncelebratory Circumstances
By: Kristen McNulty
Christmas can be truly the most wonderful time of the year. But for some, Christmas is a time when all the pain and stress of life gets magnified.
For the couple trying to start a family, hearing a child's laughter at Christmas is a painful reminder they don't have what they desperately want.
For the single person, without kids, a spouse, or even an extended family, seeing reminders of how much Christmas and family are intertwined brings feelings of loneliness to the forefront.
For the family who's struggling to make ends meet, seeing commercialism wrapped up in a bow amplifies the difference between what they have and what the world tells them they need.
Christmas can be a time of happiness for some and sadness for others.
And I can relate. This December my family has been hit very hard and it's easy for the shortcomings that exist cloud my vision and stop me from seeing the whole picture of what Christmas truly is. So where does that leave us who are faced with celebrating during a season where we don't feel all that celebratory? It leaves us in a place where we need to remember and keep reminding ourselves, what Christmas is all about.
The greeting card companies might say Christmas is family and Christmas is children and Christmas is love and Christmas is piles of presents, but if we look back at the first Christmas we see what Christmas truly is: a God who stepped into despair and darkness and brought light and hope in.
Jesus wasn't born into perfect circumstances. His parents weren't married. He was born in a stable next to animals. And the country He was born into was living under oppression, so for the people in Bethlehem on that very first Christmas, their circumstances were looking pretty bleak. God could have chosen any point in history to bring His son into the world, yet He choose that time. And maybe that's because sometimes it's only when it is truly dark can the light be recognized and received.
Just look at the response that the birth of Jesus provoked. The shepherds left their flocks to go and celebrate the birth of the Savior. The wise men traveled a great distance just to get a glimpse of that little baby. Anna and Simeon were filled with joy. Not because their circumstances were perfect, but because they recognized that the birth of the Savior changed everything and that was worth celebrating.
So this Christmas I encourage you to do what I have committed doing myself, and that is to stop looking at our circumstances or what we lack, and instead look at Jesus Christ and celebrate all that He is. Here are just some of the gifts that were given to us through Jesus coming to this earth and dying for our sins.
Through Jesus we are justified by faith. Have peace with God and access to the Father. Are given hope, peace, comfort and strength. Are filled with the Holy Spirit and adopted into God's family. We're forgiven of our sing, reconciled to God, saved from God's wrath. Given abundant life here and now. Have an intercessor who pleads on our behalf. Are blessed with the Body of Christ, our Christian brothers and sisters. And promised an eternity with Him, free from sin, suffering and death!
So this Christmas let's take our eyes off of our uncelebratory circumstances and instead keep them focused on Christ and keep our hearts thankful for all He's given us. And when we do that, we can really celebrate at this time of year because if it wasn't for the birth of Christ, we wouldn't have the hope we do in Him!
Reprint rights available on request. Email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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