This post was first published on Dec 19, 2010. I’m re-publishing it after some editing.
It’s not even a week to Christmas. I’ve been thinking about the meaning of Christmas A LOT. I used to think that from the whole year, Christmas was one holiday that had to be perfect. I mean, there’s all this glitz and glamour, an array of colours attached to Christmas, nice smells from pine trees to apple cider and Gluehwein to delicious baking, and my favourite songs ever are Christmas songs.
Growing up we did not celebrate the Advent season as we do now. Christmas was a very short affair. There were no Advent calendars to help us with the countdown to Dec 24, and for the first 14 years of my life Christmas was an illegal holiday celebrated “underground” in the former Soviet Union.
Why is it that if something bad happens during the Advent/Christmas season I tend to think it’s ruining my Christmas?
If someone I know passed away around Christmas, I used to think it was ruining our Christmas. My grandma died on Christmas morning many years ago. It was a very different Christmas for all of us. But was it really ruined? If I base my Christmas on all the glitz and glamour, and everything else that goes with it, then yes, I guess, that really ruined my/our Christmas.
Today I firmly believe Jesus is especially present on Christmas when everyone around me thinks that my/our Christmas is ruined. When I have lost a loved one, when someone I know was involved in a really bad accident and is in hospital with severe injuries, when someone I love struggles in their marriage or even goes through divorce.
For all the pain we are facing, Jesus is there. He came into this world to help us deal with life and all that comes with it. “I am the LORD, your healer,” God said in Exodus 15:26. Whether it’s physical or emotional pain we’re facing, HE is our LORD, our Healer! Especially at Christmas it’s good to remember that.
I know a thing or two about pain and hurt at Christmas. I remember the first Christmas after the divorce. We had moved to Germany a few months earlier. It was all new to us: a new place to live, new family dynamics, new Christmas traditions we were starting…
The girls opened their presents on that particular Christmas. They played for hours with their new toys. After they were in bed, I realized there had not been a single present for me under the tree. I cried for hours that night, and I promised myself it would never happen again. For many Christmases I would put a present for myself under the tree. When the girls got older and realized I was giving myself a present, they joked a lot about it. Actually they still do.
But today, as I look back on that Christmas I KNOW that Jesus was right there in that living room, He was with me while I cried. I did not realize it at that time, but today I know that He was there. He held his arms around me and gave me strength to face Christmas day, and Boxing day, and the next day…
When I look at the news, what’s happening around me, around the world, there is so much more pain that I’ve never even come close to experience. When I think of the people in Haiti, what Christmas they’ll have in their tents, with barely the basics to live… That’s where Jesus comes in.
He came, He was born, He lived, He healed, He died and rose again, and He’s at God’s right hand right now. And we are invited to “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” That’s the message of Christmas, that’s the meaning of Christmas to me.
We put our hopes so high around this time of year, no one on this planet can meet our expectations. No one, except Jesus, born on Christmas many years ago. I’m so grateful to know Jesus personally. He is my Lord, my Saviour!
No, it won’t be a ruined Christmas for me, because Christ Jesus is my Christmas!
Merry Christmas everyone!