people are sad.
They are lonely and grieving and sorrowful for things they can’t change.
Even happy people get sad during this time of year. They start thinking about what they have or haven’t done.
Things they’ve said or left unsaid.
They look away from the homeless on the street and the hungry in their own hometown.
The look for friends where there aren’t any and find reasons to feel sorry for themselves.
I can say this because I live it. I experience it. I understand it.
I am an optimist, but sometimes, my smile is painted on and my heart is heavier than I think I can carry.
I look around at my life and take stock as Christmas looms on the horizon, as the New Year stares me in the face and I think “what do I have to offer anybody?”
And then, like the soft light rising out of a foggy Spring morning, I am reminded that Christmas isn’t about me.
It isn’t about trees or gifts or money or family or friends.
It is about something so magnificent, so profound, so incredibly huge that it leaves little room to be sad.
It is about a child that was born of a virgin.
Not just any child.
The Christ child.
Think about that for a minute.
In this sex-crazed world, think about a young girl who had never given herself to a man and yet found that she was pregnant.
If you feel crazy, imagine what she was feeling. Imagine what was going through her mind when she told the man she loved that, although she had never been with anyone, including him, that she was pregnant and that God had told her that it was ok.
How insane would that sound?
How could Joseph possibly trust her?
He trusted her because he trusted God and God trusted Mary with His son.
It sounds complicated and weird and yet it is so beautifully simple.
Who among us would not want to be chosen to carry the Savior of the world and who among us would not want to care for and love the one carrying that child?
Who among us would not want to be an integral part in raising that child, in cherishing Him, wiping His tears, telling Him bedtime stories, hearing Him say “I love you” as He wrapped His little boy arms around our neck?
I find that, when I think of the reason that we celebrate, the joy and inexplicable magnificence of it all, it is difficult to be completely sad.
Not impossible, for we are human and as humans, we can always find things to complain about, be sad about, be mad about.
We can always find ways that people hurt us or make us feel unworthy, who leave us wishing for more and hoping that tomorrow will bring the fulfillment of our dreams.
But if we let all the human emotions crowd our minds and hearts, we will forget why we celebrate to begin with and if we remember why we celebrate, then there will Joy unspeakable.
Yes, there will still be sadness and loneliness and melancholy … There will be loss, grief and memories that threaten our sanity … but they will, if we put them in perspective, be in their rightful place.
Behind thankfulness and awe.
Behind beauty and love that surpasses anything we will ever find if we only see with our human eyes.
And because the feelings that threaten to destroy us are behind the Joy of remembering why we celebrate to begin with, we will live through them, move past them, learn from them and be stronger and more resilient because we have hope in something bigger than who we are and what we feel.
With hope, there is nothing impossible.
With hope, there is always the possibility of another day.
With hope, there is the image of Heaven.
Sadness can’t hold a candle to that.
My hope is that each one I know, each person I come into contact with, each spirit that crosses my own will know joy and that, even for a moment, the sadness will become obsolete.
Merry Christmas, my friends.
Luke 2: 7-14
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.