I see you, Sister.
This Christmas is a “first” for you.
The first Christmas without your mom or your dad, or your beloved grandparent or friend.
It may be the first Christmas since the divorce or since that relationship ended badly.
It’s the first Christmas since you lost your child or the first Christmas since you learned you had infertility.
Maybe you lost your spouse this year.
Maybe you feel lost this year.
You don’t feel like going to parties. You don’t want to put up your tree. You aren’t listening to the radio because you aren’t in the mood for Christmas tunes.
I see you.
The year my sister died I put decorations up just two weeks before Christmas only because we were having company. I took them all down, immediately, the day after Christmas.
It had been my favorite holiday in the past and I often decorated before Thanksgiving and didn’t dare pack it all away until after the new year, but that year I couldn’t wait for it all to be over.
It held too many memories and too much pain.
We celebrate Christmas because one day, years ago, a babe was found lying in a manger. He was the Son of God, who created the world. On the day he was born his father threw a party. He placed a new star in the sky. Angels sang.
And what do we learn in scripture about Jesus’ birthday after this first Noel? What of the subsequent 30+ “Christmases”?
We catch a quick glimpse of him many years later as a boy, and then we don’t hear about him again until he more actively begins the ministry he will die for in his thirties.
So… Christmas is a HUGE part of the story, but it’s not all of the story.
This Holy day? This one you are dreading?
Sister, it will come to pass.
And you? You will keep healing one ordinary day at a time.
Yes, God gave us Christmas- where choirs sang and a star was born and Emmanuel came.
But after that, he gave us ordinary, but extraordinary, days of wonder.
God on earth walking among his people.
The blind seeing.
The dead living.
Those who had lost purpose finding it again.
The very trajectory of peoples’ lives altered forever.
And this? All of this?
On all of the ordinary days.
Jesus took me beyond Christmas years ago.
Past the artificial wonder of the season (the wonder that ends when the gifts are opened and the food is gone) to the real and everlasting satisfaction of knowing Him each day in the every days.
Some weeks a random Tuesday’s phone call from a loving friend whispers more wonder and healing to me than going through the motions of a holiday season.
I don’t for a moment downplay the miracle of Christmas.
Just know, it is just the beginning of the miracle. There is more to Jesus than this babe in the manger. There is more for you than just this Christmas.
This holiday season can be whatever you want it to be. You can mourn your loss however you choose.
Just know that God will move you beyond this Christmas.
After this babe is born and the celebration ends, he grows into your savior who not only takes the sins from the world, but asks for your tears, too.
He not only conquers death, he heals your soul and binds your wounds.
This man of sorrows who is familiar with suffering? He sorrows with you.
This Lamb of God is also the gentle shepherd who leads you lovingly through valleys and depths of pain you never knew you could experience.
But He leads you.
I see you. But more importantly. El Roi (El- raw-EE “The God Who Sees”). He sees you.
Take comfort, Sister. You ARE moving beyond this Christmas.
Just know that fully grown savior king, born a babe, isn’t letting you go.