Wherever you may be in December 2021, this is not your final destination. As believers, our hope is more exciting than the anticipation I experienced as child, unable to fall asleep on Christmas Eve. Back then I couldn’t wait to open presents in the morning. But the gift that awaits those who trust in Jesus Christ is not worth to be compared with any material possession. Now, I can’t wait for the day when our faith shall be sight and we will see God face to face, and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
I wasn’t eavesdropping, but while waiting in line for coffee this week I overheard two separate conversations between two different sets of friends say essentially the following: “This is the best! I love this time of year and I can’t wait for all the festivities with my family” and then not 5 minutes later I heard another person say, “It’s only December 1 and I already am ready for the holidays to be over. This time of year is the worst”
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I think we can all agree that this time of year can bring out the best and the worst, not just in our culture around us, but even within ourselves and our families. Like those individuals in the coffee shop, for some the holiday season is truly wonderful. It’s a time of giving, of gathering with loved ones and friends, and a time of celebration of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. But for others, this time of year can be stressful, lonely, and a bombardment of hyper-commercialized, unbiblical sentimentality. Our Westminster Confession of Faith teaches us that God alone is lord of the conscience, and so I don’t intend this article to give any recommendations or suggestions as to how or why a believer should navigate the 31 days in December, but I do wish to offer 3 reminders that I believe can help keep the holidays in perspective, and hopefully encourage us as Christians amidst the hustle and bustle.
You are not alone. “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matthew 28:20b
The Holidays can be the hardest on those who are missing someone around their table this year. The loss of a spouse, parent, child, or even just the physical distance and separation of family across a country (or for missionaries a whole continent!) can present a host of pain and heartache. Not to mention everything we’ve been forced to endure the last two years with a global pandemic. In the age of social media, when seemingly everyone is posting or sharing photos of great gatherings of loved ones together, it’s not hard to dwell in loss and loneliness. But as our Lord reminds us, take heart! God promises He is with us. That’s not an idle or empty promise. God sees us, even in our struggles and heartaches, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are truly not alone. Regardless of our marriage status, or if we have multiple children or are childless, we have Christ and His bride, the church.