Did you know that Jesus was not born into a perfect situation? He was born in a stable that was dirty, most likely very smelly and not your most sanitary environment. Gross!!! I mean seriously think about all the dirt and animal poop around! When Jesus was born so many showed up to celebrate His birth. They didn’t leave when they smelled the mix of awful smells. The donkey didn’t lay down and give up when pregnant Mary and her extra water weight got heavy. The wise men didn’t stop traveling when the journey got long. We should not stop celebrating Jesus when our journey is tough, smelly, long or heavy.
This past month I caught myself thinking … it doesn’t feel like Christmas. I believe we all have this mind set at some point in our life. This is because we often base Christmas on a feeling instead of on the one we celebrate Christmas for. When life isn’t measuring up to what we expect around Christmas time, we find ourselves in a deep hole we can’t seem to climb out of. I have found myself in that hole a time or two. If you are human I’m sure you have as well. Maybe you are sitting in that hole at this very moment. Don’t give up. You will get out. Life is difficult and to be honest it seems life gets the most difficult around moments that are suppose to be filled with “perfection” and “joy” rather then “pain” and “traum-a”!
I can remember several years growing up when we just didn’t celebrate. It was after my parents divorce. We didn’t celebrate because “we were too poor” to celebrate. We didn’t celebrate because of depression and mental illness in our home. We didn’t celebrate because the enemy filled our thoughts with “it doesn’t feel like Christmas.” I guess you can say, we were celebrating for the wrong reason because when life seemed to be too tough to deal we just didn’t celebrate at all. Looking back I can see how even in difficult moments in life we should still celebrate Jesus.
This past year we have all faced a wide range of difficult moments. Moments like, loss of a loved one, relational issues, deep rejection, financial stress, uncertainty in our health, big life changes, mental illness and so on. These moments and many more, make the holidays difficult because it’s hard to celebrate when you are emotionally wounded and struggling to put one foot in front of the other. It’s hard to celebrate when you don’t have the emotional energy to muster up another fake smile or joyful words for those you pass. We are a few days from Christmas. It’s coming regardless of what trials we are facing in our life. The difficult situations surrounding us unfortunately don’t pause for Christmas.
I’m not asking anyone to fake a smile, hide their trials or pretend all is ok. Life is hard and we need each other. I’m only asking that during this Christmas season we remember that Jesus is the reason we celebrate and our current life trials should never determine the feeling we get when Christmas is near. Christmas will always be Christmas because of Jesus and not because of what is happening around us.
I’m so thankful that even when I face obstacles in my life one part of life is certain and that is Jesus. Jesus was born and came to save the world and because of Him I get to celebrate while trusting Him with the rest.