The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~ Psalm 59:18
The words Holiday Season often stir up many emotions, memories and feelings, for example, I remember the excitement of waking up on Christmas morning my Winnie-the-Pooh footie pajamas and racing downstairs with my little brother to see what wonders were left under the tree (but we weren’t allowed to open anything until our youngest brother woke up). And, yes, this was several decades ago, by the way.
We may remember candlelight services at church, fireplace readings of the Christmas story, Christmas plays and programs, visits from family members, caroling, snowmen, hot chocolate, warm-fuzzy feelings….oh, you probably get the my drift.
But, stay with me, OK?
Not everyone’s warm-fuzzy feelings are stirred up with the words Holiday Season. No. As most of you know, this is, indeed, one of the most difficult times of the year for so many people. With this season’s emphasis on family and love, those without family (either being removed by divorce, death or distance or whatever circumstance) have a tendency to NOT feel the season. Know what I mean? And, not all memories are full of “love”, especially in an environment of abuse.
And, even if the immediate circumstances are calm, one only has to watch a news station for five minutes to know that our world is FULL of hate, death and despair. Or, one can go to any Internet news site and read one depressing headline after another: cancer, tragic car wrecks, mass shootings, child killings, senseless murders, sickness, floods, fires, terrorist activity….and the list goes on infinitely. So, yeah, I think we can agree that life can be a MAJOR BUMMER.
Stay with me…
This is the weekend before Christmas and churches everywhere (which I hope everyone does find a church home) will be filled with joyous songs, happy families and messages about the celebration of the birth of Christ. How can this be? How can there be happiness and joy during such terrible, awful times? How can we sing when we are alone? How can we sing when we are hurt? How can we sing when there is pain?
There is an answer.
This weekend, we will be singing about a baby who was born. We are able to sing these songs because this baby was born because this baby brought HOPE to a hopeless society.
Emmanuel. God with us. God…the creator of the universe…is with US. HE IS HERE.
Yes, despair and grief will be here. Bad things happen. BUT, GOD IS HERE. We must cling to that HOPE. Jesus IS our Hope. This HOPE gives us peace and joy that cannot be explained, even in the midst of adversity and tragedy. So, this weekend, we CAN sing.