by Terry M. Smith
Do you grieve this Advent season?
The original coming of Christ made angels, shepherds, and Magi rejoice. It also made people weep as baby boys were slaughtered in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:16-18). Advent, then and now, can be a time of confusion and grief.
“To some people, the approaching Christmas season spells loneliness, darkness, even pain,” Pastor Irma Janzen wrote 15 years ago. “They don’t look forward to it. It can be the most difficult season of the year” (What if Christmas isn’t Merry? Dec. 4, 2002, The Messenger).
“Some people in our congregations get overtired because they are too busy. Others overspend and feel guilty,” Irma said. She wrote that “commercialism and media make much out of Christmas,” while Christmas reminds some people how relationships have broken down. These are words to hear.
Family gatherings at Christmas reveal tensions, weaknesses as well as strengths, in how members relate to each other. Such gatherings amid strained relationships are mixed times of joy, stress, and grief. In the midst of this, Christ’s grace and the Church are much needed.
How do the actions of the Church and the sermons you hear at Christmas speak to your grief and strained relationships? How do they miss them?
O Lord, Christmas creates tension for us. We are sometimes hurt and confused. Help us to find your grace. Help us to feel and know that we are not alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.