This is the paradox I’ve been living for years – a follower of Christ dreading the season of Christmas. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had lofty expectations of how “perfect” everything should be during this time of year... when I was younger I always pictured my family sitting around the tree holding hands while singing a beautifully harmonious rendition of Silent Night. (Seriously.)
Christmas usually went a little different than the pictures I had in my head and I slowly stopped putting all my hope in having a perfect holiday season. Every year Christmas seemed harder, and I started to become angry and couldn’t figure out why. I had disdain toward “The most wonderful time of year” and it left me feeling bitter and lonely.
I am still on this journey, but I’ve started to realize that all my dissatisfaction toward this season was rooted first in seeking satisfaction within it. I was expecting the 25th of December to give me warm fuzzies, make me feel loved and heal the pain in my life. No wonder I always came up dry.
Christmas represents a baby coming to this Earth to deliver us from the bondage of sin. Christmas does not have to be about the pain of failed expectations, because Jesus puts so much more meaning in it. The pain that I feel during a holiday season is the exact thing that Jesus wants to replace with joy in Him.
I’ve found that “Love, joy, and peace” are not to be associated with a season, but a person: Jesus. I’ve found that no one day of the year can be a quick-fix to filling the holes we’ve felt the other 364 days, nor can it magically change our hearts to forgive the action of others who have hurt us.
If you can relate to my experience at all, I invite you to join me this year in consciously recognizing Jesus’ work despite the pain or bitterness, and ask Him to replace those feelings with joy.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13