As I prepare for Christmas, at times I am filled with conflicting emotions. I praise God for the celebration of Christ’s birth and for loved ones with whom to share it. Yet my heart is also heavy for those who suffer. Life is full of struggles - grief over the loss of loved ones, hurt from broken relationships, loneliness due to separation from family, and discouragement with physical limitations during the season’s activities.
There have been moments when I have wondered how I can possibly be joyful and peaceful when this world is so full of pain, yet I also realized that if the world were not hurting, there would be no need for a Savior. I reflected on that first Christmas. That time was far from peaceful and pleasant. Roman rule was oppressive and life was a struggle to endure. Mary and Joseph faced ostracism, pain, homelessness, and separation from family. Those who anticipated the birth of the Messiah were expecting to see a conquering king, which was not the case.
Yet we on the other side of the cross know the significance of that first Advent, and because of it, we anticipate the second one. With the second coming, all pain, suffering, and disappointment will end. We will truly be able to rejoice without sorrow, and perhaps my joy this year will be more in anticipation of Christ’s future coming than in His past one. Whatever we are facing this Christmas, may we remember the victory and eternal life that Christ’s birth and subsequent death and resurrection bring. May that knowledge bring us peace, and may we rejoice. “I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to this earth so that I may one day live with You in heaven. May I truly rejoice in and celebrate Your birth this Christmas season, even as I long for Your return. Amen.