The hardest part about Christmas, is that it goes on as normal. No matter if countries are at war, no matter the loved ones you’ve lost this year, despite the cost of living crisis and regardless of whether you have strained relationships with family members – Christmas still goes ahead as planned.
Why is it that the most wonderful time of the year often magnifies how far from wonderful our lives are?
Today is Christmas Eve, I am typing out this blog on my phone as I push through the crowds in Harrods because I left my Christmas shopping to the last minute, which means I will now be a little late for Christmas lunch at my sister’s house (sorry Natalie). As I try to survive the birthplace of consumerism, unnecessary spending and home of the materialistic that is Harrods, I can’t help but feel icky, sad and uneasy.
Just moments ago I was sat on the bus reading about yet another missile attack on Ukraine, I looked out the window and saw a man experiencing homelessness asking for money, and in amongst all of this I carry a weight of sadness as I remember the family of my friend who passed away at the start of the year – this will be their first Christmas without him.
My sadness for those around me moved to self-pity as I thought about the fact that although I am grateful to be with my family, in a country that is safe and peaceful. There are three places missing from our Christmas table where my dad and brothers should be. Quite the miserable spiral for Christmas Eve but just like that I found myself feeling completely over Christmas.
It doesn’t take much to be done with something when you forget the reason for it. How inconvenient it seems to be expected to be merry and bright when the world seems dreary and dark. It appears wrong to be spending money on gifts when we’ve forgotten why we give gifts in the first place. When all you can see is the Bleak Midwinter, it seems delusional to believe it’s The Most Wonderful time of the Year.
Christmas will always be anti-climatic, consumeristic, unnecessary, over-indulgent, and often inconvenient, when you take Christ out of Christmas. I look around and I see a world just as desperate for Love Himself as the day He arrived in Bethlehem. I look inward and I see a heart that can only and has only ever been put back together by Love Himself.
Can you for a moment lift your head up above the water long enough to hear the Good News in an ocean of bad news? Christmas was never about us and always about us. We make it about each other, forgetting it is about a God who made it about us. The greatest love story of a God who loved us so much He gave His only Son – that’s why we give.
The hardest part about Christmas is the greatest part about Christmas which is that it goes on, every year, 25th of December, a beautiful reminder that Love Himself did not turn his back on us, Love Himself has not turned his back on us. Immanuel – God with us – God with you.
Alas, I’ve finally arrived at my sister’s house – only 25 minutes late and only almost got hit by a car once. But before I go, my prayer for all of you reading this is that God will daily give you enough strength for the present day and enough hope for tomorrow.
Merry Christmas and whatever you do this Christmas, please don’t forget of the reason for the season x