This Christmas season hasn’t felt holly or jolly. Please don’t put me on the naughty list for my candor, but sadness and melancholy have dominated my days. I’m grieving the loss of my dad (and other family members). My soul aches for people I love who are walking through life-altering events–kids diagnosed with cancer; parents in hospice; major losses of their own; and uprooted faith. The nights are longer and the daylight overcast with clouds. It’s hard to muster up the desire to sing about.
I felt guilty for not feeling like I wanted to celebrate one of the most important events in human history–right up there with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. (And possibly the invention of chocolate.) How could my Christmas be blue as a believer who knows how the Story will end?
Then in a quiet moment, the Spirit spoke in my heart: “Your aching and longing are precisely the reason you can celebrate Christmas.”
Isn’t that the whole reason a baby was born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago? To give hope to the weary, burned-out, washed out, disheveled and discouraged. To give courage to those who’ve tied a knot at the bottom of their rope but still feel it slipping through their fingers. To proclaim freedom to the captives and to bring healing to the oppressed.
That truth shifted my perspective.
I can grieve AND celebrate. Both responses move God’s heart.
My soul still aches and my faith still waivers, but I remember that against the backdrop of disease and death, the Light has come into this world and darkness cannot overtake it (John 1:5). So I mourn and dance and worship and weep and laugh and pray and, yes, even celebrate.