I have known intellectually for a while now that not all Christmases are merry for all people. I have even preached that sermon on an occasion or two – to be sensitive to those who will have a hard time this Christmas. This is the time of year where a Christmas carol will make some cheery and some upset depending on what you associate with Christmas or what is going on in your life at this moment in time.
For me, this is the first Christmas I can remember that seems to have a dark cloud over it. Recognizing the reality of a blue Christmas is no longer an intellectual exercise nor is it a message for someone else. This year Christmas is leaning difficult as dad is in the hospital and the prognosis isn’t a good one. I wasn’t sure if he was going to make it through 2018. Now I am not sure if he is going to make it through 2017.
This isn’t a woe is me post as much as it is a recognition of the very real pain people experience this time of year and often every year after a difficult Christmas. They are reminded by the empty seat at the table, the person they no longer buy gifts for and the phone calls and texts that no longer come.
One of the greatest gifts you can give some people this time of year is encouragement an comfort because for some of us the passage of scripture most fitting this year is not Luke 2 or Matthew 2 but another 2…2 Corinthians 1:3-5,
“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.“