It’s easy to forget in the midst of Christmas festivities that, for some, Christmas will not be so festive this year. For many, this will be the first Christmas after losing a loved one. Others will experience Christmas as spectators, watching the world around them celebrate as they would love to do if only they still had, or just once could have, the wealth necessary to celebrate. What a heart-stab every mention of Christmas toys must be to those who have lost a child? There are many who watch all of Christmas as orphans watch families playing through an orphanage window.
With this in mind, it’s tempting to give up our cheer and take a more “mature” view, a sober perspective that pulls our head out of the clouds, one more in tune with the “real world,” which prevents us from getting caught up in all the childish Christmas hype. But such a view is short sighted to say the least.
Don’t take this as some muddle-headed attempt to counter deep pain with trite Bible clichés. Make no mistake; pain hurts. But one can either hurt in hope or hurt in despair, all depending on the level of insight and faith.
The remedy to the pain evoked in so many by Christmas celebrations only comes by looking past the celebrations to their object. If shiny tinsel, lights and family dinners are really all Christmas is about, hurting, lonely people have little hope. But the great irony is, for many, loneliness and pain is intensified by the celebration of the coming of the only One who can cure our loneliness and pain. Those whose pain is aggravated by Christmas are in a situation much like Chesterton’s boy artist; no matter how bad we are hurting, we sit on a hill of white chalk.