Eleven years ago we lost our oldest son, Christopher, in an automobile accident. He was 33 years old. The Christmas that followed was the saddest I had ever known.
Instead of being “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the Christmas jingle goes, it was miserable. Just thinking about Christopher’s absence felt like all the merriment and joy were sucked out of the season. When you have lost a loved one, the holidays can be an especially painful time because they are super-charged with memories of happier days that simply cannot be reclaimed. To this day, we still feel a huge hole in our hearts.
I imagine many families may be going through something similar this year, and they are dreading instead of looking forward to Christmas Day. But even in the middle of grief, Christmas can be a time of celebration and, yes, some moments of happiness — if we remember what it is really about.
But to do this, we need to start by canceling Christmas.
Now, I’m not talking about the celebration of the birth of Christ but rather the hijacked version that most people seem to participate in today. The word Christmas has been pirated, emptied of its meaning, dragged through the gutter and given back to us minus its power. To many Americans, Christmas means little more than ornaments, peppermint lattes and presents under a tree.
But this commercial Christmas cannot deliver on its empty promises. After all the presents have been unwrapped, the food has been eaten and everyone has gone home, we end up feeling empty and alone again. Maybe the festivities helped us forget about our pain for a little while, but once it’s all over, it comes back and hits us like a freight train.
The true meaning of Christmas is a promise of hope — not that we will find a present under a tree but rather that God’s presence will be in our lives.
In the Bible, we read how the angel came to Joseph, the soon-to-be-husband of Mary, and told him that her son, supernaturally conceived in her womb, would be called “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” (Matt. 1:22)
Without question, one of the most remarkable teachings in the Bible is that Jesus Christ Himself will actually enter and live in any human heart that welcomes Him. That is why the old Christmas hymn says, “Let every heart prepare Him room.”
Christmas means we never have to be alone again, because of Immanuel. Jesus is there with us.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Greg Laurie