Christmas is the most magical, family oriented, memory making time of the year. Each holiday season brings new delights and laughter, as we make new memories and relive the old ones. But this joyous time can also bring a lot of difficult memories for some, and act as a reminder of what was and what is no longer. For some, it’s a reminder of a dream that will never be fulfilled, and although there are beautiful lights and music all around, their heart feels the shadow of the season and a lonely silence where music once was. It can be the most wonderful time of the year or one of the most hurtful times.
Last year, I remember walking through one of those hard parts of Christmas. I was right in the middle of trying to choose joy, when my heart was aching and I felt like God began to open my eyes to what Christmas was for me. I felt as if the word Emmanuel, God with us, was running through my heart, and reminding me that I had a reason to feel joy—even through the difficult moments of the season. It was obvious that God was right there with me.
Christmas isn’t just about family we spend our time with or the memories we make, it’s about the fact that Jesus gave up everything—came as a baby, to live and die so that we didn’t have to do life alone, ever! Jesus is not shuffling my hurt to the side and telling me it doesn’t matter. Christmas is Jesus coming down to be with me, telling me He sees my great pain, and He is there to carry it. He is coming to be my counselor when my thoughts are scattered, my peace in the storm, a strong and mighty warrior when the fight seems to hard, and a sweet comforter when the sorrow overwhelms me. He is God with me, in the loneliest of moments, and He is there in the midst of the hard of Christmas, to be our HOPE.
For many of us, our lives may look different in this season than we wished, but there is so much beauty and meaning that is revealed as we focus on what we do have in Jesus—instead of what we don’t have in this world. So, in the midst of the hard this Christmas, may we experience the hope of Emmanuel, who came to be with us, the hope in the hard.