I’ve been thinking about how much Christmas changes as we get older. For me, as a kid Christmas was a magical time of the year. It was filled with pretty Christmas decorations, stories of Santa and his happy “ho-ho-ho”-ness, lovely songs, snow, lights, yummy food, and of course, baby Jesus. It was perfect. Or at least it seemed that way.
The funny thing is when you get older and those rose-colored glasses fall off. You start to see that life has cracks in it.
And Christmas is not supposed to have cracks in it.
How can I feel the magic of Christmas when there is so much hurt in this world? When around the world at Christmas dinners there are empty chairs this year that should have never been emptied. Life can be so cruel. When broken people deeply scar the ones who love them the most. Watching good friends dying from cancer. Life has a way of dishing out unspeakable pain. How can one celebrate at times like these?
The children’s choir singing O Come, O Come Emmanuel…How many people standing here in this church are trying to stand through cancer and divorce and debt and the sharp edge of life that’s cutting their heart right open and they’re singing through this Christmas but they’re really bleeding quiet? We sing it like a plea: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel“
Emmanuel — God with us. God with us and for us and in us and holding us and this is the Christmas miracle that outlasts all of time.
I’m learning that the magic of Christmas is not found in its perfection. It is found in a story that says God could no longer stand leaving us in this broken world alone. He became Emmanuel.
He is with us.
Say that to yourself, over and over again.
He is with us.
I think that’s what Christmas is all about.