I was reminded again, as I listened to a radio program about special Christmas memories, that profound sadness accompanies the Christmas holidays for many people. That’s understandable. Losses of loved ones around that season would naturally taint the celebrations as can the loneliness of realizing anew the sad reality of people missing that have been so much a part of our lives in the past. Christmas can be very hard.
We should be sensitive to that among those we know who may be suffering this way. Perhaps we can offer some loving context in sharing our Christmases with the sad and lonely. Joining us in family dinners, especially if children are present, can brighten otherwise dreary days and provide opportunity for them to direct their attention outwardly during this bright season. “Adopting” a grandparent for some special local holiday entertainment can also help them to see past their sorrow and to embrace a future with expanded horizons.
We expect immature children (or immature adults) to identify their most memorable Christmas as the time they got some sort of “stuff’, a big screen TV for their bedroom, a drone, or some latest electronic game. While marketers love that mentality, any thinking or feeling person sees beyond that fluff. Christmas, in the original “Immanuel” – “God-with-us” form, always has been about relationships. It’s about God’s relationship with us and about our resulting relationships with each other. The real “stuff” of Christmas is, of course, John 3:16, which many know by heart: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The bottom line is God’s inclusive love for us and about His gift. We can keep in touch with Christmas by sharing that inclusive love in the name of Jesus, by finding someone who needs some love this season and including them in our lives.