I love Christmas… the tree, my family, the carols, the lights, the hand-painted nativity my mother made me, the weekly reminders of advent… I love it all. So please understand I was raised leaving cookies for Santa, hanging stockings by a fire, and looking for Jesus in the nativity on Christmas morning because our Jesus never showed up in our family nativity scene until Christmas morning. I love this season and will continue to love it.
But this year, for me, the jingle, the sparkle, the nutcrackers and gingerbread men, while wonderful, are simply not holding the same joy for me. I love them all, but I am too aware of the pain and confusion around me in people’s hearts to enter into the glitter and cinnamon with the same level of satisfaction. It feels like this presentation of Christmas is missing the mark this year more than ever, as if the world is offering a glittery and scented bandaid to a hurting population. And it just doesn’t cut it. In fact if we aren’t careful we can end up doing more damage by offering a cinnamon and candy cane remedy to hearts that desperately need healing and love.
We need Jesus first.
I truly hope this does not sound critical towards the wonderful season of Christmas with its trimming and many expressions of joy. But right now unless these expressions of Christmas point us towards the only source of love that will actually heal our hearts, we will find ourselves missing the only remedy which will actually bring us the joy, love and healing we are looking for.
And that remedy is the gift of a bridge to perfect Love and companionship. Jesus earned our respect by living a human life with a poor family, racially discriminated against, in a brutal, physically violent culture. He lived through trauma like ours, abandonment like ours, and loss and rejection like ours. So we would know He understands. He did this all for the sake of offering us a gift companionship and a family that will never leave us or forsake us.
And that family is God the Father’s family. Jesus’s birth is called a gift for a reason. It isn’t by accident Jesus called God Father. The choice Jesus made to become one of us and live like us was an enormous gift of a bridge to unfailing Love and companionship, the chance to become more than God’s creation but to become sons and daughters of the Father. It’s an invitation and chance to enter into God’s family as a son or daughter, an opportunity to have close access to unfailing Love, and the opportunity of a healthy and safe relationship with a Heavenly Father who dearly loves us.
Now that is a Christmas meaning that I can sing about this year and a message that will honour the hurting and confused hearts around me.
And yes, of course I will make my gingerbread this weekend, and decorate my tree, not because they are the gift of Christmas, but because they will remind me of the gift I am celebrating.