GUEST COLUMN: Beating the Christmas blues

-A A +A

Face the holidays with the joy Christ brings

By Jon Rohr

You’ve all heard the song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”  And I must admit, I generally agree.  But there are times when the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season turns me into a bit of a Grinch. 

What about you? 

And I know there are many people who face the holidays with a lot less joy than I do.  There are families that are facing their first Christmas without a loved one, and it is hard.  There are men and women who face the holidays all alone, and the joy of the season just highlights loneliness.  For some people the holiday season just reminds them of what they have lost.  When your heart is broken it is hard to watch everyone else enjoying themselves.

All that and we haven’t even gotten to the financial strain of the holidays!  When Dad feels responsible for giving the kids a great Christmas and the credit cards are maxed out.  When Mom wants the best holiday meal on the table and grocery prices keep going up and up. 

 So let’s deal with these issues for just a moment.  First, the financial thing…quit.  Don’t buy into it.  Don’t for a minute believe that Christmas is about gifts and presents, it is not.  Christmas is about relationships.  First it is about the relationship between you and the Lord of the universe.  On that first Christmas God took on flesh and became human.  Christmas is about Christ, He is the gift of Christmas and He has paid the price for all of us.  That is why we are told “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” (Mt 1:23 NIV)

 So don’t ever believe that presents under the tree or a huge spread on the table is what we are celebrating.  We are celebrating the love of God come to us in a baby born in a stable.  That baby showed us how much our God loves us.  So this Christmas, you may not have much, but I don’t know any layoff that can turn off your heart.  I think you can show your love with kind words, with shared time, with an investment of yourself, not just your finances.

 As to those struggling with loneliness and sorrow, the same God is with you as well.  I hope and pray you have a church family that will understand your struggle, who will love and support you.  But never forget what the prophet Isaiah said, “the people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Is 9:2 NIV)  You may be living in the shadow, but in Christ a light has dawned…that is the story of Christmas.  We don’t need to live in the darkness of doubt and despair anymore.

So, my prayer and hope for you this Christmas season is that you will see the Light of Christmas in Jesus. 

The baby in the manger is the Savior who gave His life for us on the cross.  Have faith in Him this Christmas. 

In Him is the real joy of Christmas.