Monday, December 8, 2008

Blue Christmas

The hopes and fears of all the years, are met in thee tonight.

Christmas is here! For some of us, this time is filled with joy, family, friends, too many gifts to buy, too many parties to attend, too many snacks and meals to prepare, and too little time in which to accomplish all of it. Homes are decorated, carols are sung, and festive colors are worn.

For many people, however, it is a time that comes and goes without much fanfare. To them it is a lonely time. It is a time when perhaps loved ones who have gone to be with the Lord are missed or money is extremely tight or other circumstances get in the way of experiencing the joy others seem to have during this season.

Those who truly enjoy the season try to help those who do not in a variety of ways, and it may help for a short time. However, after the food, fruit baskets, inclusion in a dinner, or some small gift is gone, the feelings of despair and loneliness often come racing back like a cold December wind.

We know that there are these two extremes during Christmas, but I believe there is another group of people we must pray for and embrace this holiday. These are the people who seem to have it all together, but are empty on the inside. These suffer silently. There are no extensions of goodwill to them, because they do not seem to be in despair. These people are hard to spot, because they go through the motions of Christmastime well. They smile, shake hands, hug, give gifts, decorate, and enjoy the festivities just like everyone else. If we could see inside them, we would see that they are on auto-pilot.

These are the people who skip meals quietly to make sure their kids have something to eat. They use every little bit they can squeeze out of toothpaste, soap, and laundry detergent so they can have enough money to buy that one special present for their spouse. They reluctantly spend the money to bring that $5 present to the office Christmas party, not because they don’t want to participate, but because they could use it elsewhere. They sing carols about a King born in a stable and laid in a manger, but they feel as though He has been forgotten in the season that bears His name. Perhaps they too, feel forgotten in the shuffle of Christmas.

You’ll never hear them complain of their problems. You’ll see them at the parties. You may sit beside them at church. You will just see them going through the empty motions of an otherwise joyous season. Maybe this person is actually you.

This Christmas season, pray for God to lead you to someone who may have a need that they would never share with anyone. God knows who they are, and if He places someone on your heart, do not hesitate to act. If you are actually the person I described, know that God loves you very much. So much, that He wants to give you a full life. Turn all of your dreams, hurts, burdens, and fears over to the God who loves you enough to send His Son, into this crazy, misguided world to show us the way back home to Him.

The Lord hears his people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. (Psalm 34:17-19 NLT)

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