Few of us, if any, come to Christmas unscathed. The busyness of family and church events, family drama, or wishing for a Hallmark Christmas that never happens can make celebration a struggle. It’s not that hard to understand Scrooge. What’s the point? What can Christmas do for you?
Christmas is controversial. In our Western culture it’s become politically correct to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” There are other cultures where celebrating Jesus’ birth could mark you for persecution. Some Christians argue about whether true followers of Jesus can legitimately celebrate Christmas at all because of the historical connotations with December 25 and all the other extraneous trappings. And we have very good evidence that December 25 was not when Jesus was born anyway.
We shouldn’t be all that surprised at such controversy. The very first Christmas was controversial too. The God of the Universe entered hostile territory as a helpless Baby. The virgin birth was a scandal even back then. The immediate events surrounding Jesus’ birth were filled with exile, murder, and drama. It was anything but pretty.
Why do you celebrate Christmas? Why do I celebrate Christmas when doing so deepens the loss I feel over my husband’s death? Why expend the time, energy, and money to do family events, or make Christmas at church something special? What can Christmas do for you?
Here are some very good reasons to enter into your Christmas celebration in some way.
Christmas Opens Your Heart
We each have many reasons to keep our heart closed. Open it and you’re certain to get hurt somehow – disappointed, wounded, betrayed, frustrated. Hiding behind walls or lashing out with claws bared seems a safer way to handle loneliness, broken relationships, unmet expectations, grief, and a host of other stuff our messed up world dishes out.
Christmas doesn’t usually make the bad stuff go away, but it provides another option. If you’re feeling stuck in the grime it may feel risky to open your heart to the possibility of the wonder, peace, and joy of Christmas. Open your heart anyway. The promise of Christmas is glory beyond the mess, peace regardless of the storm, and hope when your eyes can’t see it.
Follow the invitation of Christmas to let your heart open.
Christmas Points to Giving
Almost any parent understands that the joy of seeing your child open a present is greater than any feeling you get from receiving something yourself. Giving gifts goes far beyond physical presents under the tree. Even songs such as “Little Drummer Boy” and “All I Want for Christmas Is You” point to the need in the human heart to give.
If you’re hurting this year, giving can feel pointless and difficult. Give anyway. Give presents to your loved ones if you’re in a position to do so. Give to those who can’t give in return, such as children stuck in the hospital during the holidays, families who have no resources to give, or someone with no family at all. Give to those who give to others, such as through your church or favorite charity. Give yourself to anyone close to you.
And most of all, look deeply in your heart and make sure you give yourself unreservedly to Jesus, who gave Himself to you.
Christmas Celebrates Jesus
Humans forget. Quickly. For all its human limitations, Christmas reminds us of the reason we have hope. In the middle of evil Jesus came to be God With Us. (Matthew 1:23) While doing so imperfectly, Christmas offers the opportunity to truly celebrate the greatest Gift of all in Jesus.
Jesus is worth celebrating! What if the first Christmas had never happened? Where would you be without Him? That the God of the Universe would come here, to rescue and heal and deliver and transform – is there a greater Gift? Christmas also reminds us that the story is not over. The mess we see and experience is not all there is. The Christmas story is the beginning, not the end.
In whatever way you can, take the time to truly celebrate Jesus this year.
From my heart and from all of us at Dr Carol Ministries, Merry Christmas!
Your Turn: How are you going to celebrate Christmas? What does it mean to you to celebrate Jesus this year? Leave a comment below.
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- Can Christmas do anything for you? Yes! Christmas opens your heart, points you to giving, and – even though imperfectly – celebrates Jesus. Merry Christmas! Tweet that.
Beating the Holiday Blues
We want to help you get through the Christmas holiday season with more joy and less blues!
To help you do that, we’re releasing some special episodes of our Relationship Prescriptions podcast. Starting today, each Thursday between now and the end of the year we are presenting tips and prayers for Beating the Holiday Blues.
Here are two great ways to listen: