I’m signing off until after the holidays, so here’s my (early) Christmas post...
In the last few days, I’ve heard from several people who are experiencing major difficulties in their lives during this holiday season. I know that suffering and Christmas cheer don’t seem to mix too well.
Then again, the very fact that we have Christmas points to the darkness that clouds human history. After all, the reason a Savior came to us is because we needed saving in the first place. A dark Christmas (or any other dark holiday) may provide a context for us to appreciate God’s grace all the more, albeit in a painfully unwelcome manner. To borrow a quote from my last post, “it is in the darkness where the light is most appreciated.”
The reason Christ’s birth is an occasion for joy is that He came into a dark world to save sinners. And by “sinners” I mean people radically depraved and spitefully opposed to their only source of hope. The “good news of great joy” proclaimed by the angels paved the way for us to see God do the unthinkable: He now “justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5). The birth of innocence enabled the death of guilt. Or, to put it another way, Christ was born when we were dead in our sins so that through his death we might be given new life.
So, our holiday get-togethers may be less than perfect. Friction and strife will probably be mixed in with merriment and laughter. We might even experience outright suffering. Regardless of our circumstances, may we all experience joy in the knowledge that “there is born to [us]…in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).