I was listening to Christmas music on the way home from work today, and found myself selecting melancholy songs about winter and songs about the birth of Christ in minor keys. And I wondered, why do I feel bad every Christmas? Why does Christmas fill me with joy, and yet such sadness at the same time?
I feel like I end the Advent season every year feeling like, "Great, I missed it again." I feel like Christmas is such a great opportunity to celebrate Jesus' birth and instead I'm confronted by many failures.
All it takes is a couple Christmas parties where I feel like my words could have been kinder, better chosen. Recognition of my deep bitterness about cold weather and a complaining spirit. And, don't get me started on my own personal materialism. Walking through the malls I find gifts for others and a thousand desires for things I didn't even know I wanted. My heart gets smaller with each shopping trip and my will to make donations gets weaker.
These things crowd out Baby Jesus so easily. Christmas Day arrives and I wonder, is there room for Him in my heart?
As I continued driving down the expressway, slowly albeit with millions of red lights guiding me home, I wondered. Maybe it's good. Maybe this season reveals the darkest parts of my character because they contrast so starkly to the light that was born to redeem them. Maybe it's important for me to realize all the Herod, Grinch and Scrooge-like qualities that fight in my heart and remind myself just how much I need Jesus.
Maybe a reminder of my weakness will help me remember just how important Christmas is. Remember that Jesus came to earth to save a wretch like me. A time to reflect on the purity of that sinless, newborn baby born into a world of sin and suffering. A God who did not leave us helpless, but came to save. That gives me hope and fills my soul with joy.
"For unto us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
The Child was born to ransom our sinful hearts. In our weakness we can rejoice that One came to rescue us, Jesus our Emmanuel, God with us.
"The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them a light has shined." Isaiah 9:2
May the light of Jesus fill your heart and soul with joy and comfort this Christmas and every day this year.