Christmas has always considered magical by children and adults alike. Between the Hallmark movies and other means of commercialization (not to mention the song whose title is the same at this blog post), we have idealized this season into becoming something that isn’t always true. For some, this isn’t the most wonderful time of the year.
That was the case for me 9 years ago. I resigned my first pastorate on the Sunday before Thanksgiving (not what I had planned to do that day after only being 11 months in), and all hell bombarded me within 24 hours. Part of the reason I resigned was that my marriage of 13 years was coming to a close. My “most wonderful time of the year” turned into me packing up my wife at that time to move out of the parsonage, me a few weeks later packing my personal belongings to return to South Carolina, me quickly transitioning from pastor to nobody, our family becoming the talk of the town of 117 people, and me to returning to the lonely parsonage on Christmas night, wishing either the Rapture or death would take me that night. It took many years of healing before I would no longer hate this season. I didn’t hate Christ and the true meaning of Christmas, but the dates on the calendar reminded me of things in my life that died. I still shed tears during this season, but they are now tears from a grateful heart that I survived.
You may be reading this, and you can identify with the holiday pain. Maybe this season reminds you of loved ones who won’t be at the table for Christmas. Maybe it’s the pain of divorce or an estrangement from a family member. I would like to say some cliche things like “it gets easier” or “you’ll get over it”, but you won’t. It will become part of your story, and you will be able to help others and empathize with them in their pain.
I pray that you will share the sentiment I share – that Jesus is sweeter to you now than He has ever been. Even if this time isn’t so wonderful, God can give you grace in this journey. Please know that I am available to pray for you. You don’t have to walk this road along. Feel free to drop a comment below so I can be praying for you during this difficult time. That’s what the body of Christ is for!