I love Christmas. At this time of year, I like to talk about it as much as humanly possible. The closer we get to Christmas the more I like to talk about it – the best bits of Christmas dinner and people’s Christmas traditions are particular favourite discussions. Now we have arrived in December, I believe it’s time to face the more nitty gritty conversations…are you a Buddy the Elf or a Grinch? (Buddy.) When can All I Want For Christmas be first played? (Mid-November, or any point of the year if you’re having a bad day.) What about decorations: 1st December or 12 days before? And a question that is, in my opinion, frankly not a question at all – is tinsel an acceptable decoration? (It’s not.)
I have been listening to Christmas music since November, have had my first Christmas dinner and have watched half of both The Holiday and Love Actually. (Admittedly watching all of them would have enhanced my festive mood, but you can’t have it all.) I keep finding myself daydreaming about a crisp Christmas day where the fire is roaring, the air is filled with smells of brie and cranberry, mulled wine and roast dinner, and every corner of the house is lit by fairy lights. But the reality is that Christmas day is still just a day. The tough parts of life don’t take a holiday along with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. For many of us, the picturesque Christmas of snuggling up around a roaring fire with new slippers and a gripping novel is just not a reality. When life is broken, Christmas is too.
Hope for the broken
But I want to remind you that it is for this very reason that the first Christmas arrived. Christmas is because of brokenness. Christmas is for brokenness. Yesterday in the carol service at my church, we were reminded that God is not scared of what scars us. The darkness has not and will not win. Suddenly, I became aware of the fears that I just co-exist with; fears that I have acknowledged and invited God to take away, but not fully surrendered to Him. The weight of these fears was almost crippling, but God is not overwhelmed by what overwhelms me. Christmas is the perfect moment to remember that our brokenness is the reason for the season. God went to the most extreme lengths to enter into the brokenness and whisper hope.
He arrived fragile, small and dependant, in order to relate to the brokenness of the world. He was a baby to poor and unprepared parents and his genealogy is riddled with reasons to be embarrassed. While most would claim a royal lineage, Jesus includes foreigners, murderers, adulterers and prostitutes in his. He is not far removed and He is not unfamiliar with pain, rejection and lack. His birth-line is a banner of brokenness and within that a reminder that if your Christmas isn’t homey, hearty and happy… it remains hope-filled.
‘A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.’
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