As I think of several of my family and friends, I am aware of how much hurt there is this Christmas season. Is it because of the pain we experienced last Christmas that makes me more aware of the pain others are experiencing this year or is there really that much more hurt?
Hearts broken. Families gathered around a loved one who is taking his last breaths. Families gathering around a grave of one who has just passed. Beloved foster children being torn away from those who have loved them for over a year. Loved ones overseas who will miss yet another Christmas with their family.
And the list goes on and on.
We often say, "It isn't right. This should be a happy time. It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, yet so many are hurting."
But, I got to thinking back to that day when Christ was born - the day we celebrate at Christmas. Oh, what a joyful time it is when a newborn babe enters the world. How much more joyful it was when that babe was the promised Messiah. Our world was given a wonderful gift...the One who would bring eternal life. Angel sang. Shepherds worshipped. Wise men gave gifts. But, was it all joy? Mary had to lay her precious newborn in a feeding trough filled with scratchy, dusty hay. Was there not a tinge of regret? One of the Wise Men brought myrrh - a spice used to anoint the bodies of the deceased. Was this not a sorrowful foreshadowing of what was to come? God sent His Son to earth - good tidings of great joy! He sent Him to die - what grief, what sorrow, what pain.
So, should Christmas always be nothing but joy & happiness? While we grieve with our loved ones who grieve, maybe in some small way it IS right. This pain surrounding an otherwise happy season allows us to sense a bit of the feeling of that night in the manger in Bethlehem where a baby lay...a baby who was born to die.