It is the most wonderful time of the year. The carols resound with this fact; yet, it seems to bring an ache this year. Could Christmas be broken?
Cherished family memories with cookies baking, classic records playing, and delicious hot chocolate over warm conversation are what we see streaming through screens and perhaps our imaginations. Our hearts long for that connection to others, for happy times, for the past that seems so beautiful or the wonderful future that promises to be right around the corner.
Is that what our homes are really filled with at Christmas? Hope for more and longing for better are real parts of our lives all year. The season perhaps emphasizes it.
Here is a question that was written many years ago, “For who hopes for what he sees?” Or it could be asked, “Who hopes for what they already have?” These are taken from the end of Romans 8:24 in the ESV and NIV of the Bible.
The reason we hope for something is because we don’t have it yet. So when the lights for the tree are tangled, the cookies are burning, and conversation is broken with those we love most, perhaps it’s time to ask, What am I hoping for?
Do we really just want a warm glow around this season? At first glance perhaps we say, “Yes!” We long for perfection. There is a longing within me that is greater than I can even express. Sometimes words are not enough. Romans 8:23 says it this way, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
Our longing is to be adopted into the family of God. We want redemption. As believers in Christ we have this identity changing, life redeeming gift, but we are also waiting. That’s what Christmas is about; it is the pursuit by holy God for sinful us. He sent His Son to humbly live the holy life we could not, to die the death we justly deserve, and to be raised to life on the third day!
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:24-25 ESV)
Christ Jesus returned to heaven and He sent His Spirit as promised. Someday we will see Him face to face. The things of life are quick to fill any space. I have been busy hoping for perfect time with family, the glow of lights, and just the right presents under the tree. Maybe I’m not the only one.
Is Christmas broken? No. Never. Is my heart? Oh, yes. My focus this Christmas, and every day of my short life, should be Christ. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26 ESV)
Thank you for the gift of your Spirit. Thank You for what Christmas really is and that it is all about You. Thank you that You restore broken things, including my heart. Please cause me to hope for the very things You desire. In Your Name, Amen.
Why might someone feel like this season is broken?
What do you and your family do to focus on Christ at Christmas?