All of us kids sat soberly on the couch, looking at our rather distraught parents. They took a breath, looked at each other, and then back at all. . . eightish?…of us. Then,
“I’m so sorry, but we can’t afford gifts this Christmas.”
It wasn’t the first time, nor the last time, we were told there would be no presents for Christmas, but for perhaps the first time, I didn’t believe it. Not because “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” as Jo says, but because in previous years God had always miraculously provided gifts for us.
And, sure enough, I’m pretty sure it was within the week that two random people showed up at our doorstep with multiple, giant bags filled with so many gifts that when Christmas morning dawned, even the oldest of us dropped our mouths at the amount under the tree.
The movies always say that Christmas is a time for miracles – at least, Hallmark does – but it can be hard to believe, especially as we grow up. It was far easier for me as a teenager to believe that God would bring us unnecessary Christmas gifts than it currently is for me to believe that God will publish my book, or anything else for that matter.
It feels immature and unrealistic to look at Christmas as an extra-special time where anything can happen, and I’m pretty sure people are more cranky around Christmas than any other time of year, no matter what the movies and songs say about them being happy and smiling at each other during Christmas.
Perhaps that is why it is more important than ever before to try to look past our doubt, past the pressure, past the expectations, and beyond to the hope that Christmas is supposed to represent. To the magic that Hallmark movies always display, because deep down inside, all anyone wants is to feel like the miraculous can happen. That no matter what we are going through, how dark the forest is, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that light began with the birth of a Child.
So, this holiday season, as you make hard choices about travel, family, budgets, and fight off fear about the future, keep an eye out for those moments of joy, hope, and idylls. Because history proves they do happen.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13, NKJV