When Christmas isn’t Joyous

homelessAt Christmas time, we’re assailed by songs that tell us that it’s the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’ We are encouraged to revel in the excitement of food and family and presents and general boisterous chaos.

For many however, Christmas is one of the most difficult times of the year; a time when loneliness and poverty are exacerbated; when spending a quiet night eating a tin of baked beans is not only lonely, but excruciatingly painful.

My heart goes out to those who are poor and alone on Christmas, and as the church, we should be reaching out to them, but I can’t help wondering whether Christmas’ ability to be devastating is evidence that we’ve really missed the point.

Who was more poor or alone on Christmas night than Mary and Joseph themselves? And yet the entire reason that we sing of it as the most joyous and holy of all nights, is that Jesus, the savior of the world, was born.

Secular society has made Christmas all about friends, family, presents and food, isolating people who don’t have these things. But that is never what it was supposed to be about. It was about God coming to earth in human form, in the loneliest and poorest of ways, to dwell with us and save us from ourselves. If this is really our focus at Christmas, it can be a time of great joy for everyone, even, or dare I say especially, for those who don’t fit society’s mold.

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5 comments on “When Christmas isn’t Joyous

  1. Diane says:

    Our challenge then is to find ways to make this liberating message known to those who will see their need – both lowly shepherd types and educated king types.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. meinwords says:

    As with anything else, Christmas will come hollow and lacking when it is made by society to tell us what they think it should be. We try to manufacture the “festive” spirit with the songs, trimmings, food, parties, Santa, etc. so when circumstances fall short it only makes any pre-existing sad condition worse.

    Oh yeah, and this is all besides the fact that none of the commercialization of Christmas is real or lasting or have anything to do with the basic, simple message of God with us.

    • sarsrose says:

      Yes, all so true… it sometimes bothers me how much I can get drawn into the hype of the season and actually enjoy that more than reflections on the true meaning!

  3. sf says:

    A humongous AMEN to this! I always wonder how much worse homeless people must feel like when they start to see Christmas decorations in stores and realize that it’s another Christmastime when they’re going to be alone and in want (even more) again. Oh so sad! Thanks so much for pointing out the important reason for Christmas and of WHOM we are recognizing and celebrating – not each other and not ourselves. Once again a wonderful post!

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