In some ways it’s been a little difficult to get into the Christmas spirit this year. My aunt died about five weeks ago (my mother’s younger sister), and her husband died last Friday. In many ways it was a blessing for them–Aunt Earline had Alzheimer’s and so in many ways had been gone for a while before her body gave out, and Uncle Tom had severe Parkinson’s…and just didn’t want to live without his wife.
In and of itself, that would have been enough–but this time of year is also the anniversary of 7 deaths in our family since 2003. Mostly members of the senior generation, but also our oldest grandson on his 21st birthday. And so each death kind of opens up again wounds…
Here comes Christmas.
It’s kind of like the Dr. Seuss story How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Christmas can’t be stolen, regardless of what else is going on. There are all kinds of things that will try to take the Christmas joy away–the Grinches in our lives–yet in the end, Christmas is here.
There’s a line in a Christmas carol that has spoken to me this year more than in the past…
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
Christmas doesn’t mean a trouble-free life. We’re still going to have hopes…and fears. But in the words of a verse of another contemporary Christmas carol…
Good news! Great joy to all the earth–
The Prince of Peace is born!
God’s peace he brings to human hearts
By fear and conflict torn.
And so Christmas comes. Despite anything that we think might stop it, Christmas will come–bringing with it the message of hope…the hope of true joy and peace….the message of the angels every year…
“Don’t be afraid; for you see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people; to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”