Bittersweet Christmas Eve

Feeling bittersweet is something new this Christmas.

I have some friends who are just dealing with some really tough stuff. A best friend is carrying the weight of the world at her job in more ways than one. It will probably be impossible to leave her troubles behind as she boards a plane for Indy (Ican’twaittilshegetshere). Another very good friend’s best friend’s mom (got that?) is having neck surgery this morning after a car accident involving a semi truck. And RD (whom I have mentioned before on this blog) is not doing so well and is back at Wishard, his family praying and hoping he can get a pass to come home for Christmas, a place he has not been since August.

My heart squeezes when I think about my friends wading through this Christmas season, unable to feel the lightness we all felt as kids when school was off and life was only about extra treats and gifts and snowball fights. As we grow older, we begin to understand that Christmas doesn’t make the world stop. It doesn’t make bad things disappear and it doesn’t speed up healing or happy endings. And no amount of time off, good food, or nicely-wrapped presents will make the problems go away.

While I wish this Christmas season was nothing but a joyful Christmas for them, I do find it comforting that this season is the epitome of hope. It’s the very day that reminds us of the presence of Emmanuel, “God with us.” It’s the celebration of the day God joined us on earth as a human, that He walked in our shoes, and that He made a way for us to be comforted in all things…that He understands.

So to my friends (or anyone) who are walking through a dark time right now: I pray the brightness of the season illuminates your path and shines throughout the year. May you be reminded that God makes a way for us and that the reason we even have Christmas at all is because He wanted us to know that.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

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