I can hear that song in my head while I’m writing this. “It’s the hap happiest season of all.” I think it may be those expectations that make Christmas such a difficult time for so many. It’s as if we expect all the troubles in the world to go away like magic the day after Thanksgiving when the Christmas carols return to the radio and the lights go up in every window.
But that’s not how it really is, and frankly, it was never how it was meant to be. A dear friend is facing the ugly reality of divorce, and she drives past twinkling lights and Santa waving from the corner as she heads off to the scariest meeting of her life; that meeting with her lawyer and his lawyer where they all sit at a big table and try to agree on things that they already know they disagree on. It’s horrible and ugly and painful. Another dear friend has been crushed this week by the suicide of a family friend; a mother; a sister; a worn and broken soul who couldn’t see a better way out. People wonder aloud at how things like this can happen because, “It’s Christmas time,” as if it wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t this time of year.
I don’t think we’re being fair to ourselves when we set such expectations for this season. The truth is, on that first Christmas, as Christ entered the world, He was coming to a dark, broken, hurting, and scary world. His arrival is the thing that brings the beauty and the hope. Our world is still broken and we’re still hurting, but by His grace we are promised a time that will truly be the “hap happiest season of all.” Now that’s something to celebrate!