Christmas. No matter who you are that word brings up some emotional response. Some people love it, some hate it, others simply struggle to survive it. It can be the happiest time of the year. It can also be the hardest time of the year. As much as I have always loved Christmas I have to be honest the past few years have been a struggle. There are things that just FEEL more in December than they do at other times of the year.
I had some hopes set on things happening this year that just didn’t happen. I was limping into this season already aware that it would come with disappointments. I knew that I just didn’t want this to be another Christmas that I felt like I needed to simply survive. I have had plenty of those before. When your family is less than functional and you have always felt like you never quite fit in well all the holiday get-togethers can be a chore. You know you are different and everyone else knows that you are different also. It can be awkward.
I made the decision that this year would be different. I was going to enjoy this season. Only in some ways I haven’t played all the Christmas music or done anything to be in the Christmas spirit. Then just the other week it dawned on me. I don’t fit in with my family. For a long time I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. This season was different, though. Christmas parties, gatherings, and trips. Surrounded by the ladies from my church. Suddenly Christmas was almost upon us and I realized that for the first time in many years that December didn’t come with the overwhelming loneliness that normally characterizes this time of year.
Christmas is a time for families. Yet when your family isn’t steeped in togetherness and traditions it can feel like a long season when your friends that you love like family don’t have time to get together. My friends have long been the family I didn’t have. Then I realized that God has truly placed the lonely in families. I know without a doubt that I no longer have to do life on my own. It was the fact that people were willing to open their hearts, homes, and lives to me that changed things.
We can get so stressed in this season because it isn’t going how we think it should. Yet we need to remember that it is mostly the gift of being present that people really want from us. God came down to be with us in our mess and to show us a better way. This Christmas lets not try for perfection. Let us just be present with one another and soak in His presence as we thank God that Love came down to dwell with us right where we are.
Let us not forget that not only did God step down into the most vulnerable form of a baby to identify with us. He is still holy, perfect, and righteous and worthy of all praise. If this season is hard for you let Him come close and offer the comfort that only He can bring. If this season finds you in your happiest moments praise God for the times spent with your loved ones and give Him glory for your many blessings. Above all else let’s never forget to be searching as the Wise Men did for His daily and active presence in your life.