The news today is full of sadness. A massacre at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. A veteran likely suffering from PTSD is suspected of killing several current and ex-family members north of Philadelphia. The aftermath of the hostage standoff in Sydney, Australia. Continued protests and prayer vigils that call for an examination of how America's criminal justice system works for, yet also fails, its citizens. And those are just the headlines of the day.
For many as well, their personal lives are full of sadness. A job is not working out as expected, or hasn't come yet. Relationships may be strained with family or friends. And for some, they prepare for the first Christmas without someone dear to their heart. If this is you, you feel the reality clash in the face of seemingly unrelenting cheer and canned joy, even when just going to the store to pick up the milk.
The story of the birth of Jesus is a joyful one indeed, but one that lives in the complexity of life. After all, it was into a world that was divided and at war that Jesus was born. It was to a family of meager means that Jesus was born. And it was to mend the broken relationship between humanity and God that God the Son became our Incarnate Savior.
If it is a blue Christmas for you this year, know that we hold you in prayer. And remember what is promised in the first chapter of the Gospel according to John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Photo by Paolo Costa Baldi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons