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Feeling ‘Christmassy’?

As I sit here to write this there is sleet streaking the window. It’s cold, damp and grey outside. The sun hasn’t broken through the clouds for about 3 days and to make things worse our kettle has broken!! ‘Tis the season to be jolly?

As soon as December hits (even earlier for some) Christmas lights go up, trees get brought inside and decorated, shops are full of the best gifts, chocolate, stollen, lebkuchen and more alcohol than usual. Glitter and tinsel adorn everything and dressing up and going out is the norm. 

There is a perception that for all of December you should be in some kind of ‘Christmassy’ mood which slowly builds to the perfect day on the 25th but in reality, this time of year can feel so bleak and difficult. A lot of that is because the challenges of life seem to be ignored and brushed under the rug in today’s western ‘Christmas culture’. Don’t misunderstand me…Jesus coming to earth as God incarnate is definitely worth celebrating. It is glad tidings of great joy, it is without question something to tell our children about and to share with our family and neighbours. But does this time of year have to be so pressurising?

What about those for whom this Christmas is the first one without a loved family member? Or the 20th Christmas without that family member? What about those who are single and feel desperately lonely? What about the couple longing for children but unable to conceive? Or have one child but can’t have more? What about those who are part of a blended family where children are split between carers? Or families divided by oceans, COVID restrictions or estranged due to arguments of the past and bitterness? What about those who are struggling to keep their marriage together and this Christmas might be the final straw? Or those who are looking after a terminally ill person for whom this might be the last Christmas? All these things leave us feeling broken, hurt, lonely, isolated and not in the mood for festivities. The fact that it is Christmas doesn’t change all that does it?

YES IT DOES!!!

Christmas is the celebration of God becoming flesh and blood and moving into the neighbourhood (John 1:14, MSG). It is the outpouring of the Father’s love over a broken world. It is the earthly beginning of God’s eternal rescue plan where his always and for ever love is shared with everyone. It is where the fragility of a baby and the awesome power of the creator of the world clash and become this amazing contradiction of strength and weakness combined. I know that doesn’t immediately take away the pain felt by the people mentioned above, but it does begin to give us a platform on which we can lay down our hurt and pain before God. He wants to know how we are really feeling, how we are really coping, or not. There is a precious space for God’s hurting people and for those who need his special care (Psalm 34:18). 

If you’re not quite feeling ‘it’ this Christmas, whatever ‘it’ might be, take some time to be with God. Tell him in no uncertain terms how you are feeling and lay your brokenness at his feet (Psalm 62:8). Isaiah tells us that God tends to his people like a shepherd tends his flock, he will gather you in his arms and carry you, he will gently lead you (Isaiah 40:11). Maybe you are feeling great this Christmas, maybe you are in a place of joy and peace, still take some time to be with God and tell him how you feel. Thank him for his graciousness to you and lift a friend you know who may be struggling to him.

If you or someone you know is struggling and you would value prayer please get in touch – we would love to pray for and with you!

Rachel is an Inspire Missioner based in Chesterfield, UK. She is mum to Zoe who is alive and well and Boaz who would have been 2 but was stillborn. Christmas is a real mixture for her.

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