My daughter has a flair for the dramatic (she gets it from her Daddy).
The other day she declared, out of nowhere, “Mummy, if we do the wrong thing then Christmas will be RUINED!”
(Actually, now that I think of it, it kind of sounds like the “be good or else” Santa propaganda that is everywhere this time of year… I jest. Kind of 😉 )
But we had a big chat about how you can’t ruin Christmas by doing the wrong thing. And in fact, when we do the wrong thing (or sin, as we call it), that just proves why we need Christmas.
I reminded her that Christmas is about God sending Jesus to become a man and take the punishment for our sins so that we can be His friends again.
I think sometimes adults can feel like Christmas is ruined too. Not because we did something bad (necessarily), but because of the bad things happening around us and to us.
Christmas makes the suffering in our lives so much more apparent because it’s meant to be a joyful, happy time. And when we’re not feeling that, the contrast to how (we perceive) everyone else is feeling is quite stark.
I heard a great Colin song the other day, called Jesus Christ is Born. The middle verse kind of addresses Christmas disappointment for kids (I’ll include it because it’s funny), but the last verse speaks to adults. It made me think of my friends and family who are going through some really hard trials as we approach Christmas this year.
If Aunty Nance gave you new pants
A size or two too small
If that new toy they gave to Troy
Just drives you up the wall
If someone else got what you want
And what you want is gone
Just take a breath and don’t forget
That Jesus Christ is born
Jesus Christ is born
Jesus Christ is born
Hope will shine at Christmas time
Cos Jesus Christ is born
Well life and friends and family
Can somehow seem to crash
Sin and sadness creep around
And find good stuff to trash
But God sent his son Jesus
On a mighty rescue plan
A Saviour in a manger
In a shed in Bethlehem
Your circumstances can’t ruin Christmas because the hope of Christmas is bigger than your circumstances.
The hope of Christmas is that God made a way to save you from all the pain and suffering of this world (pain and suffering that we have all participated in creating).
The wonder of Christmas is that He chose to do this by sending His son into that same pain and suffering.
Once you belong to Christ, there is nothing that can ruin that.
Not your husband leaving.
Not a cancer diagnosis.
Not estranged family.
Not chronic health problems.
Not Christmas morning disappointment.
Not the loss of a child.
Not starvation, or homelessness, or having your whole family killed in a brutal war.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.