Some days it sneaks up on you. One minute you’re fine and the next you’re standing at the sink washing the dishes with your tears.
Some days seem designed to make you cry. It hits you in morning and by lunchtime you’re ready to go to bed and stay there. Forever.
This is what a broken Christmas looks like.
So many are experiencing a broken Christmas this year. I hear it everywhere I go.
People are hurting, burdened, and lonely. We’ve said goodbye to loved ones, we’ve seen families break apart, or we’re struggling with illnesses and financial burdens. And most of us are just plain tired.
The cares of this world overwhelm us as the weight of two thousand Christmases past settles on our shoulders. We see the brokenness all around us and we wonder how much longer God will leave the world this way. We thought things would be different by now. We were sure that God would make it all better.
Maybe we thought we’d be singing, “Joy to world, The Lord is come” for a different reason. After all it was supposed to be a song about His second coming.
But that second coming that we look forward to isn’t possible without the first coming. Neither is the cross or the empty tomb. The healing we seek began in that manger bed all those years ago. It began with a young woman who said a very big “yes” to God and the work the He wanted to do in her and through her.
While we wait for that blessed hope and glorious appearing, there will be suffering and brokenness. The day will come when He will wipe away all our tears, but we haven’t reached that day yet.
Until then we have to let The One whose hands were pierced for us be the balm for our souls.
This doesn’t happen automatically. We have to be intentional about spending time at the Savior’s feet and letting Him wash away the dirt and sorrow that we collect along the way.
This is a busy time of year and our routines are off. The kids are out of school; there are trips to be planned and packed for, last minute gifts to be bought, and a whole lot of wrapping to do. It’s almost inevitable that something will fall between the cracks.
We can’t let meeting with The Master be one of them. During this time of year when we feel the pain of our losses and disappointments more keenly, it’s important to keep our eyes on Christ.
It’s also important to cultivate a heart of gratitude for the blessing that we do have in our lives.
Cultivating a heart of gratitude doesn’t mean that we bury our hurt and pretend it doesn’t exist. It means recognizing that hurt is not all we have. It means appreciating the good things we have.
In this life there will always be both good and bad. We can’t let ourselves dwell on the bad, even if the bad appears to outweigh the good for a season.
Acknowledge your hurt, shed tears and then take stock of the blessings around you.
As Christians our hope is not in this life only. Our hope is in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is what gives the celebration of His birth meaning.
The cross isn’t possible without the manger, and the manger has no purpose without the cross. The Christmas story isn’t complete if we leave out the empty tomb.
The risen Savior is why not only Christmas day, but every day has meaning. The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians:
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 1 Corinthians 15:19 & 20
This is the promise of Christmas. This is why we have hope that our brokenness will one day be healed, and all our tears wiped away. This is why we can celebrate in the midst of the brokenness.
This brokenness is the result of living in fallen world. This darkness doesn’t belong here, it’s an invader that made its way into what was designed to be a perfect world. One day it will be driven out entirely, but until that day the darkness is held back by the light that is within us.
The Light that came so that we could have life, and to heal the brokenness of our sin.
The hope of salvation, and the promise of resurrection is what we celebrate. That promise that began to be fulfilled that night in Bethlehem.
No matter how bleak as our circumstances look, as much as our hearts hurt now, it’s nothing compared to the joy that awaits us when we meet our Savior face to face.
Remember, your story is a God story and it isn’t finished yet. It isn’t finished yet. It’s still being written. The brokenness you’re feeling now is not all there is. Don’t run from this brokenness that leads us to the cross, turn it over to The Author and trust Him with it.