“Christmas is a season not only for rejoicing, but of reflection.” – Sir Winston Churchill
“Jesus exchanges our hurts for joy.” – Suzie Eller
“There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.” – Aeschylus
One of the things I love most about people is when they feel comfortable enough (vulnerable enough) to share their story. Often especially when you listen hard, it is one filled with joys, courage, obstacles, and hurt.
I have been fortunate in my life to have met many people – coming from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, and upbringings. I love to ask them to share their story – what has brought them to this place in their life right now. When it comes to those stories, I haven’t heard one yet where pain is absent, where hurt hasn’t entered into the picture somehow, and where sorrow is nonexistent.
Everyone hurts and that hurt can be extra hard to bear during a season that is meant to be filled with cheer and goodwill.
Christmas always ignites memories of family and when family members are no longer here, those memories can be painful. As Aeschylus states above, there is such deep grief found in memories of joy and those joyful Christmas memories now gone can bring us hurt. For some of us, we know this will be the last Christmas we will spend with a loved one – maybe the last Christmas for us due to a terminal diagnosis.
For some, the family get-togethers are painful – filled with bitter tensions, unresolved conflicts, and uneasy conversations. For others, there is no family at all, and Christmas is spent in a state of loneliness – feeling left out as everyone else is celebrating.
Maybe your Christmas this year is being spent in a hospital room or a place that doesn’t feel like home at all. Maybe you lost it to a fire this past year, or in a repossession, or maybe you are thousands of miles away from it – fighting for your country in war that makes the Christmas season seem surreal.
Think of the marriages in turmoil, loving relationships that are broken and forever changed, a child that is absent this Christmas due to custody issues, or a financial situation so bleak that celebrating Christmas in traditional fashion is simply out of the question.
For so many of us….Christmas hurts.
I can tell you my friend that many, many a Christmas for me was spent wishing that December 26th would hurry up and come quickly – all in an effort to avoid the hurtful emotions, the emptiness, and the mental anguish that Christmas seemed to conjure up as it unfolded.
If you find yourself hurting this year during Christmas, I want you to reflect (as Winston Churchill encourages us above) on something we all too quickly forget.
The sheer essence of Christmas, the meaning and significance found within it, is all about hurt in the first place. It was a plan created, contemplated, and put into action with pain and suffering in mind – to eradicate it from all aspects of human existence…..forever.
That plan was known at the very beginning, before man was even created – even before the words of “Let there be light” were uttered. In the very second verse of the Bible itself, when the earth was formless, empty, and dark – the Spirit of God hovered over the waters – and Christ was there!
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” – John 1: 1-4 NIV
Before man ever fell, the first Christmas was planned 🙂 BEFORE the very first hurt, the very first moment of suffering, the very first conflict, pain, sickness or death – the essence of Christmas was birthed.
So no matter what you face this Christmas my friend, realize the significance of the season itself – designed to ultimately remove all the hurt you have ever known, all the hurt you are now experiencing, and every hurt that lies ahead for you.
That little baby, the Prince of Peace, came into this world to change the dynamic of hurt and pain forever 🙂
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – Jesus speaking in John 16:33
If you are hurting this Christmas, remember that Christmas is all about hurt – its ultimate defeat, elimination, and riddance from all mankind. In the hurt and suffering you may be experiencing this season, contemplate how the very first Christmas was crafted BEFORE any hurt and pain existed. That is how much our God loves us!
Because of Christmas, that separation from a loved one is only temporary, the conflicts won’t last forever, and the loneliness is simply a fleeting emotion. The sickness is momentary, the painful circumstances short-lived, and feeling “far from home” quite transitory. Christmas has made this possible!
So when Christmas hurts – remember Christmas is all about hurt 🙂
May God fill you with His joy as you contemplate the demise of ALL HURT that Christmas brings to us all!