Joy in a Less Than Merry Christmas

This is an impromptu blog post, in response to some recent familial events. Yesterday I learned some friends of ours were unable to visit their family for Christmas due to sickness. Also this week I learned that my parents and sister and nephews would be unable to visit for Christmas due to sickness. And so there is the juxtaposition of the ideal American Christmas holiday, where families are supposed to gather together in merriment, with the reality of sickness and disease disrupting the plans.

It is at this crossroads, where a joyful holiday intersects with sickness, where the real meaning of Christmas can be understood perhaps even better than if families gather together in glee. For the Christmas behind Christmas – the real meaning of Christmas behind the Christmas of Santa and eggnog and parties – is that we live in a sick and diseased world and need God to save us. The physical sickness we experience on an individual level is a symptom of the spiritual sickness we as humanity experience collectively – we have all fallen short of the glory of God, and all the problems of this world are proof of that statement.

If we focus on the real Christmas, that God Himself decided to dramatically intervene in human affairs by taking on human flesh and choosing to be born of a woman as a baby, we will be comforted even as holiday plans go awry. Christmas should always point us ahead to Resurrection Sunday (Easter). We should always remember that this Baby born at Christmas would grow up with one purpose – to offer Himself on a Roman crucifix, that He might be a sacrifice for sins to God. Only through His perfect sacrifice, where He offered Himself up to God and bore the penalty for our transgressions, can we be made right with God and receive the promises of a better life to come – a life without sickness and disease and sin.

And so to anyone who can relate to a less than ideal Christmas holiday, take comfort in Christ. Be reminded that He has not promised earthly satisfaction but eternal satisfaction to all who repent and believe in Him. May these words of God’s apostle Peter, which by divine providence I happened to read this morning, be of comfort to any Christian in a less than merry time:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1: 3 – 9)

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