She gingerly fingered the ornament before placing it on the tree. It reminded her of a time when things were happier, when life was easier. There had been a day when her smile had been genuine and when she laughed, she’d meant it. But it seemed like a different life now. Like some distant memory that didn’t even really belong to her.
The ache inside of her threatened to suffocate the spark she saw in her daughter’s eyes as she picked through the box of ornaments looking for her favorites. There’s was nothing else to do but stuff the emotions down deep and put on a smile.
Next year would be different, she told herself. But she wasn’t sure there was enough strength inside of her to even believe it.
He listened to the voicemail again, not really knowing why. Of course, his ex-wife wanted the kids. Had there ever been a question that she would? For some reason, he’d been holding out hope that they’d spend the Christmas with him this year. He’d been a fool to think it would ever happen.
Her voice replayed in his head, telling him to stop wasting his life and do something good with it. But he couldn’t figure out why it would matter if he didn’t have anyone to share it with. She’d already given up hope on him.
Something inside of him said he’d regret it but he shoved away the thought and reached for another glass of whiskey. What he needed was to forget about everything for awhile. Just a little bit of silence and then he’d figure out what to do about his life once he sobered up again.
Ever been there?
Everyone around you seems to be having the time of their life while you’re drowning. And you wonder if they could actually see your pain if it would even matter. No one likes the party killer. They all want to be happy and celebrate, not wade through the misery of what you're dealing with.
You feel alone and tired and running out of reasons to keep going.
Christmas can be a beautiful, cherished time of the year. It can also be a season filled with loneliness, struggle, and heartache. The hope we find in the story of Jesus’ birth isn’t the picture of perfection that many might expect, but the stark contrast of beauty emerging out of brokenness.
Isaiah prophesied, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” As he continued with his revelation about the coming Messiah, he spoke these words: “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
Thousands of years before Jesus was born, people eagerly waited for His arrival as those who anticipate the rising of the sun. When He came, it was to save us from our sins, to redeem us out of our brokenness, and give hope to our weary souls.
If you’re struggling this holiday season, we invite you to find hope in Christ. Join us at Sun City Church on Sundays at 9:15 or 11:00 am for a life-giving message that will point you to the One who still saves today. Because it turns out that Christmas is for a broken world, not a perfectly decorated one.