If we were to strip away every last bit of the traditions we associate with Christmas–all the decorations, the music, family get-togethers, laughing children, food, gifts–would we still view Christmas as “the most wonderful time of the year?” If it were a day and a season no different than other, except for what God did through Jesus, would we still be filled with wonder and joy?
Many people experience significant pain during the holiday season as the time for family events compresses and escalates. Whether from loss of loved ones due to death, anger or other family crises, our relational pain generally becomes more acute during this season. People sometimes seek to withdraw from the festivities in order to shelter themselves from the pain. At least, I know that I often want to.
Still, there is power in the truth that God sent Jesus into our world; a world which offers great pain as well as great joy. Jesus is not only the light of the world; He is the light of my world. As such, I must often remind myself that my celebration of His coming to Earth is not based only on what is happening in my life and what I am experiencing in my relationships. This is the worldwide celebration of one of the most significant events in all history. Jesus became the centerpiece of the history of the world! It is a time to refocus on Him, and the life He offers to all–to me–the life which the apostle John summed up as being “the light of men.” There is an inviting richness, a vast, incomprehensible wealth in that light… that guiding, illuminating, life-giving source which we inwardly crave.
So this year, I’m choosing to focus, not on what is happening, but rather on what has happened. And there is great wonder and joy to be unlocked and discovered there, in that life, regardless of what is happening around me now. I invite you to join us this Sunday as we talk about finding joy during Christmastime, regardless of what may be complicating your life.
~ Mike Knapp