I was 16 the year the season lost its wonder. It was the first Christmas after my parents’ divorce.
And no one knew just how miserable I was.
This time of year, our culture makes family out to be the wellspring of peace, joy and love. Music and advertisements brand the season as “merry and bright.” But when family is the source of your deepest hurts, faking merriness may be about as close as you can get to Christmas spirit.
Focusing on family only emphasized what was broken and absent in my life. The damage divorce had wreaked intensified during the holidays. The season that claimed to be healing to my soul became salt in my wounds.
In the year I invited Jesus into my life and trusted Him to pay for my sin, though, Christmas took on entirely new meaning. I was captured by the kindness of God bringing Jesus to our world in such a humble way to give people like me a way to know Him forever. After years of salt-in-the-wound Christmases, I found some true joy in the holiday.
But even in the midst of newfound joy, I experience increased sorrow. My family doesn’t see Christmas the same way I now do. They don’t personally understand the gravity of Christ’s birth. They go through the motions of that sacred Christmas Eve but don’t grasp what makes it sacred.
That disparity breaks my heart. I have new joy in the holiday — but new sorrow, too.
And I’m not the only one. Many people endure Christmas instead of enjoying it. Who in your life may be hurting during the holidays? Here are ways you can show them love during this difficult season:
But what if you’re the one who’s hurting? Resist the lie that you have to stuff it all inside and be merry and bright. Try opening up to people you trust. This year, I’m not going to hide my pain under the Christmas glitz. My friends need to know — and probably want to know — how difficult the holiday is for me.
Most importantly, share your burdens with God. He knows your pain and doesn’t find it negative or too awkward to handle. He doesn’t turn away or silence those who are grieving. He longs to embrace the brokenhearted. Run into His arms and find wonder in His comfort during a time that may not otherwise feel so wonderful.
Do you easily get caught up with to-do lists or find yourself focusing on stuff rather than God or others around the holidays? Here are some helpful reminders.
Taking time to meditate on the many names of Jesus can enrich your worship.
Jesus, our Alpha and Omega, existed before Creation and will return to rule forever. He is the consistency for which our hearts long.
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