Christmas is filled with immeasurable joy and happiness. Christmas is also filled with sadness and despair. Yet despite feeling all of these emotions, it is possible to feel the undercurrents of peace and hope throughout the season. I just finished baking with my ever so eager elder son. The kitchen was in chaos with flour and its fellow ingredients everywhere. The more I cleaned the messier it became all because my eight year old son wanted to help. While cleaning the mixing bowls, I thought this child is making this task last longer. Then I realized I could choose to be angry and see it as an inconvenience or I could be happy and spend quality time with my son. I chose to be happy and we had a wonderful time in the kitchen. Wish you could smell it. Just like my experience in the kitchen, the choice is simple. This Christmas can either be with Jesus at the center or it can be without. It is your decision.
This season can be quite difficult for some persons as it is the first Christmas without a close friend or family member. Loss can be a result of separation, through physical or emotional reasons. No longer can this person’s presence be felt physically near to you, but nearness is felt in your hearts. Memories, stories and photographs encapsulate the value that person had in your life. When Christmas is mentioned to these persons, there is a sadness in their eyes. They swallow the overwhelming emotions of sadness, bitterness, resentment and anger, as they fiercely blink away the tears.
This season is full of excitement for other persons, especially children. Christmas means lights and lots of presents with Christmas carol singing. They just love Christmas with the giving, receiving, cooking and baking. They are quick to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and all the best for the upcoming year. Unlike those who have lost someone at this time, they celebrate the first Christmas of the birth of a new baby, the newly married couple or the recently adopted child or even pet. It is a time to appreciate old traditions and create new traditions this Christmas.
When those who experience sadness at this time, collide with those who experience gladness the reaction is inevitable. Each group needs to consider the other and bring about a balance of emotions at this time. For those in despair, consider that the difference between loneliness and being alone is Jesus. God is always there. Reflect on the true reason for the season. Mary and Joseph experienced excruciating circumstances when Jesus was born. There was no room for them in the town of Bethlehem. They had to share with the animals. That is the most lowly place imaginable. Instead Mary and Joseph chose to praise God despite their circumstances. They gave thanks to God for the safe delivery of their son.
For those in gladness, consider those who are not feeling the way you feel. Share gifts that are eternal. These gifts cannot be seen with the eye, but they can be felt with the heart. Give and receive the gifts of faith, hope, peace, love and joy. Place yourselves in the comfort of God’s love and heal your spirits. Cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Prepare yourself for the second coming of Christ, through the thoughtful reflection on his birth. The power of God will come upon you this season and as a result your conscience will be purified.
Instead of rushing to find the perfect gift, realize that the perfect gift has always been there. That perfect gift is the birth of Jesus Christ. For when your eyes are fixed on Jesus, everything else falls into place. Whether you are sad, mad or glad this season, may I suggest to celebrate Christmas with Jesus. We have Jesus at the centre and it feels so wonderful.