It’s not that decorations go up the day after Thanksgiving. Or the Christmas songs that get played on repeat for 25 days. It’s not the cheesy Christmas movies that come out on Hallmark (or Netflix). Although, I admit, I am the Grinch when it comes to those things, that is not my struggle with Christmas.
My struggle is that the holiday season that sings about joy so often feels like heartbreak. And I know that I am not alone.
A loved one will be missing from the presents list. Some will spend their day wondering, even waiting, to see if a certain someone will show up at the door. Others will feel stressed as they try to travel because bringing everyone together seems like more of a burden than a blessing. Many will not get to sit under a Christmas tree in their home, let alone have a roof over their head.
How does one find joy when it seems those around you are hard to reach? When what was once stable feels broken or lost?
But my struggle with Christmas is always overcome by the TRUTH of Christmas. The scriptural Christmas story tells of a little baby boy, born in a manger who will grow up to be the Saviour, a light unto the world, the one that will restore all of creation.
The definition of restoration reads: the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition.
So in truth, this story is about a baby boy born not just to “save” us but to “restore” us. It is a story about the returning of you and I to our former owner (God); to our former place (the garden – a place of prosperity); and to our former condition (joy, peace, happiness…wholeness).
It is easy to live in the heartbreak that I presently feel. My Christmas will still be spent without a loved one; I will still wonder if a family member will show up or if I will spend my time traveling around. I will still pray for those who have lost their homes and whose lives have been uprooted. But my focus will be on the hope I have in the Christmas story. That through God, all of this will one day be restored.