With its twinkling lights, treasured ornaments, familiar smells, and resonating music that can take us to another time in an instant, the Christmas season magnifies our wounds. Christmas is beautiful, but it hurts because we miss people.
I can easily recall my grandfather sitting at our kitchen table in his beige v-neck sweater. I can hear his voice and his laugh. I can see his candlelit face out of the corner of my eye at the Christmas Eve Lovefeast, unable to sing and a tear rolling down his cheek. It hurts because I miss him.
We run around and around, shopping, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, attending parties, sending cards, worrying if we’ve done enough. We push ourselves physically and emotionally. We catch a cold. Things feel tight, maybe a little or a lot stressful. It’s hard to get a deep breath.
I’ve shared some of my pains here, but many of them I have not. But what I do want to say today is, yes, it is a wonderful time of the year, but Christmas hurts sometimes, and that is okay. Christmas magnifies our wounds because we have loved, and isn’t it because of love that Jesus was born? Can you imagine the dim light, the smell of the straw and the animals, the sound of a newborn’s first cry to the amazement of His parents? Christmas hurts because of scars left by loved ones, and the scars and the love are a package deal.
I sit here quietly this morning, reflecting on those beautiful Christmas Eve services that I attended for so many years. I think of the candle flame passed from one person to the next, softening the darkness in front of each face, joining together to light up the room. In our distance, in our grief, in our loss, in our sorrow, in our grievances, in all of our hurts – may we call forth the Light of Christmas that casts away the darkness. May the Spirit and Hope of Christmas embrace and soothe your soul.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.