It appears I’m not the only one who seem to have lost the essence of feeling the joy of Christmas in the core of the heart because of the whirlwind of troubles which distracts us from coming and adoring Christ the King. I read my dear friend’s blog this morning, in some ways, comforted that I’m not the only miserable one this Christmas (I know it sounds crazy that I am comforted that someone else is ‘suffering’ too. Although, my friend, I’m not ecstatic that both of us are going through difficult times! But was also just reminded that Peter said to rejoice in the face of suffering. [1 Peter 1:6, 1 Peter 4:13] Easy to say, hard to do, I know.. :)).
Then I got ready for my devotional time… and what I read had encouraged me, and I thought I should share it, so my friend may be encouraged, and whoever out there who’s also probably not having the best Christmas this year (you know who you are, I know there are many others too), may find this comforting. Here’s what I read this morning…
Archbishop William Temple once put it this way: “Let us at all costs avoid the temptation to make our Christmas worship a withdrawal from the stress and sorrow of life into a realm of unreal beauty. It was into the real world that Christ came, into the city where there was no room for him, and into a country where Herod, the murderer of innocents was king. Christ comes to us, not to shield us from the harshness of the world but to give us the courage and strength to bear it; not to snatch us away by some miracle from the conflict of life, but to give us peace – His peace– by which we may be calmly steadfast while the conflict rages, and be able to bring to the torn world the healing that is peace.”
I encourage you to read a sermon which also quoted the passage above.
So often when I don’t feel that happiness and peace which I think I should have at Christmas time, I’d feel guilty because I should not feel this way. Christmas is all about love, joy and peace. Then I try to do all kinds of things hoping to eliminate that guilt and bring out that non-existent joy…and I fail, because I can’t create a joyful and peaceful feeling which is not there, I can’t make myself feel all warm and Christmasy inside when all I can think of is the troubles around me.
But now, I don’t have to. Christ did not come into a world when it was peaceful and joyful. He came in the moment when people thought that God was silent and they were suffering tremendously under Herod the great. He came into a world of darkness which desperately needed a Saviour. There’s no need to pretend that all is well and make Christmas look like a time when it’s problem-free.
He came into a real world with many real problems that we might experience real peace in Him.
Christmas is not a retreat from reality but an advance into it alongside the Prince of Peace.