Here we are: December 16th. Nine days away from Christmas!
“Are you ready?”
I’ve been hearing this question asked at the bank, at my work potluck, in line at the stores…It CRACKS me up!
Christmas comes the same time and date each year. Not like Easter, that one can mess you up. Christmas has been December 25th for about 2000 years. So, it’s not like we weren’t told about it in advance. How come people aren’t ready?
One of the most tantalizing feelings this time of year is the anticipation leading up to this special day. I remember it well as a child.–The inability to get to sleep on December 24th. My heart beating so rapidly as the agonizing wait for 6 am (this was the absolute earliest my parents would allow for us to awake them!) and we had to bring them with us when we went downstairs to find out if all that “being good” in the weeks prior had put us on Santa’s NICE list —
SURPRISE-What did Santa bring you?
Unfortunately, one of the biggest surprises this time of year is the VOID.
Some face the VOID of celebrating their first (or second, or third…) Christmas without their loved one.
For others there’s the VOID felt in the bank account, leaving nothing for gifts.
Amidst all the beautiful lights, wreath adorned doors, the hustle and bustle and gatherings, there are those for whom this is NOT the most wonderful time of the year.
I’ll never forget the surprise of my very first out of state Christmas working at Phoenix Police Department. I swallowed the lump in my throat after wishing “Merry Christmas” to family and friends far away as I clocked in for my overnight shift working the holiday. I fully expected the night to be filled with bookings from partying: DUI’s and noise violations from all the celebrating…
The most common arrests I saw that night were the domestic violence and family assaults.
Not everyone has a family they enjoy celebrating the holiday with. That Christmas felt like a “Reverse Grinch” moment happened to me as my heart cinched up and threatened to break.
My heart has these moments when I hear a parent threaten their overly rambunctious child, “Christmas is canceled this year!”
My heart breaks every Black Friday when I watch humanity crawl and punch their way to the front line for the door-busting deals.
My heart breaks when I see the VOID left in this world.
The only cure for this heart break and void is the VERY reason why I love this season and this time of the year.
No matter how dysfunctional your family may be, no matter how misbehaved your children are, no matter how empty your bank account is, you have available a reason to celebrate–the same reason the shepherds, three wise men and a young couple with nothing celebrated in a manger 2000 years ago.
Every year, I picture Linus in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special telling Charlie the TRUE meaning of Christmas:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Luke 2:8-14 (KJV)
He came to heal the brokenhearted. He fills the void. He is the very reason for the season. So, the real question is:
Are you ready for Him?