Monday, December 17, 2012

Another post about Christmas, tis the season!

I've been thinking about Christmas a lot lately, which makes sense because we only have a week before Christmas. It sounds cliche, but this is definitely my favorite time of year. I love the traditions and being with family, all of it is so cozy. But this year, I've been thinking about Christmas a little differently. This year Christmas isn't just a happy bubble of cozy for me. I can't stop thinking about the Newtown tragedy and all the other tragedies that happen everyday, all over the world. And I have been thinking constantly about my close friend Kyle who is spending this Christmas in Afghanistan, in the midst of war and death, far from those he loves. I think about the homeless and the woman I met at church who lives in the shelter. I think about the kids in the world who will go to bed hungry, or who will die from preventable illnesses. I don't mean to be a downer, but I don't think that I can just pretend all of this isn't happening as I celebrate one of the most important days of the year. But don't stop reading now, this post has a happy ending...

I know why we celebrate Christmas but sometimes I think we all need to be reminded. We need to be given a chance to see beyond the lights and trees, and steamy cocoa cups. So here it is.

I have come to realize this week that all the crap in this world, all the negative things, are actually the reason why we celebrate Christmas. As I go to bed praying for Newtown, praying for Kyle, and all those suffering this Christmas, I realize that Christmas is the answer to all of these prayers. (Ok, the answer is Jesus but that has to do with Christmas). It is the birth of Jesus Christ that answers all of the crap. Jesus Christ, God himself, came to this earth to redeem a fallen and broken world. And when he was born, hope was renewed. New life was born, not just in the life of a baby, but in the life of the world. Because of Jesus we have hope that this is not the end, that this is not all there is. We have hope that one day Christ will return and He will make all things right.

Partly I am asking you (and reminding myself!) not to forget about others this Christmas. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day let's pray for our soldiers and Marines that are overseas. Let's pray for the families who have lost dear children, and for the many people in the US and abroad that will not have families or resources to celebrate with. But also, let's be reminded that in the midst of war, death, and tragedy we should celebrate Christmas even more fervently then before. We should have more joy than ever before because next week we celebrate the one thing that changes everything. Next week we celebrate the only thing that will get us through.

I guess Christmas has a whole lot of meaning for me this year, outside of the cliches. And tonight, as I fly home on a red eye flight, I will praise God for all of the people who have helped me to make sense of this world and who have led me toward the truth of the holidays. I have much to be grateful for, and I know that this year in particular I will not take any of it for granted. 

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