It’s the happiest time of the year – or so the song goes. Christmas is actually a very difficult time of the year for many people because Christmas is hailed as a time for family and loved ones. The problem is that for many of us – no, all of us – our family does not resemble the perfect family we see on social media, Christmas movies or the picture we have in our own head. Instead, our family is made up of difficult spouses or hyperactive fighting children or sullen teenagers or stubborn aging parents or critical adult children. Not to mention that crazy Aunt/Uncle/Cousin we keep under wraps. For some of us, we’d put up with all the difficulties just to be with absent loved ones. Christmas being about family in perfect settings of green, red and gold can leave us feeling very lonely.
The thing is, Christmas is actually not about family and loved ones. It is about us. It is about our own soul drawing closer to the Christ who came to redeem us.
He came to redeem us from
- our impatience (with our cousin’s poor choices, our mother’s eternal talking, our siblings showing off and so the list continues.)
- our judgment (of our aunt’s drinking habits, our niece’s new boyfriend, our grandmother’s spending sprees, and so forth.)
- our hurt (from our father’s aloofness, our boss’s reviews, our spouse’s criticism and other silent prisons.)
Redemption means that Christ came to exchange all of that and in its’ place he gives us:
- His righteousness (it’s got nothing to do with our own goodness or how we – or our family – behave.)
- Peace – his peace works from the inside out, not the other way around.
- Joy in the Holy Ghost – the comforter, the healer, the helper is among us always. He is a breath, a prayer, a smile, a tear away.
This Advent season, as we celebrate Christ-mass, let us be kind to one another … and to ourselves.
“So then, we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” Romans 14:19