A Message From Pastor Beth
“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us…” Isaiah 9:6
As you read this, Black Friday is but a distant memory and the Christmas Season is in full swing. Gift buying and giving, decorating, baking, and many, many social and family obligations now demand our time and energy. It is the season we have come to both love and hate, as it is filled with joyous expectations that can become burdensome and bring disappointment as the season progresses. We begin our search for joy with high expectations earlier and earlier each year, not simply in the stores as they begin displaying Christmas items before Halloween now in search of increased sales, but also in our homes as it seems more and more homes are being decorated in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe we are doing that because we are searching for something, because we feel an intense need for the joy that the Christmas season brings, and wish for the magic that we are told is supposed to happen at this time of year. And yet, that magic seems to elude us year after year despite our best efforts, and many of us are ready to move on very quickly once Christmas is over.
Maybe, as adults, we have such conflicted feelings about Christmas because we have been programmed to find joy and meaning in the wrong places and in the wrong things. Christmas isn’t about magic and magical feelings and happy endings that we see in all of the Christmas specials. Instead, Christmas is about hope in the midst of things that aren’t right, situations that are not easily resolved. Christmas is about being able to find joy even in the midst of sorrow; light – real light in the midst of the darkness of this world.
We can only find what we are looking for in the manger, in a child who is not simply any child, but God himself who came down into this crazy and difficult world to show us we are not alone. This child shows us that there is hope and life and that death and evil will not have the last say.
This Christmas, when feeling stressed, look to the manger. It is there we find the hope of the world, our hope, our joy. All the rest is extra…
A Blessed Advent and Christmas to you!