I was pulling away from the car line this morning when it came on the radio, and the disconnect between what I was feeling and the words streaming from my speakers was palpable.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
with the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the hap-happiest season of all…
I just wasn’t feeling it. It had been a rough morning from minute one, as I overslept again because of the Benadryl I took last night and my daughter’s glasses had gone MIA and she was trying every trick in the book to keep from going to school. My spirit was weary from morning after morning after morning going the same way. Routine, I like. That kind of routine? Not so much.
But even though my morning wasn’t the best ever, it was my keen awareness of the other things going on in the world around me that left the excessively joyous carol falling on numb ears. I learned this morning of a mama who lost her little boy to cancer last weekend. I know of at least a dozen families who are celebrating their first Christmas seasons without loved ones they lost this past year, mine being one of them. A friend told me yesterday of a dear friend who is on life support, and another friend is coping with the adjustment to life with a baby they unexpectedly adopted long after they thought their baby-rearing years were over. A friend of a friend just lost his job, and he and his family are facing eviction. Illnesses….joblessness….homelessness…..loneliness……the list goes on and on of things that make this a tougher-than-normal season for so many.
So when I heard the cheery music coming over the radio, a part of me wanted to sing along while another part of me was shaking my head and saying, “Really? The most wonderful time of the year? Is it really?”
But then I thought of a verse I read in a devotional recently:
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:15)
Did you catch it? This High Priest of ours? He understands.
And then, in that moment as I pulled into my driveway, I understood more than I ever have. I understood why this IS the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, it’s because of the joyous songs and the magical twinkling lights and the fantastic traditions, but it’s because of the incredible thing that happened to spark those things in the first place.
God – the Creator of the Universe – came to live among us as a helpless baby. He did that so that He would grow up as we do, struggling as we do with the things of this world. He loved people…and lost them. He faced situations that challenged every ounce of his humanity, though it shared flesh with deity. He walked among us so He would know what it’s like to walk the roads we walk, facing the things we face and even being tempted the way we are tempted to choose the ways of the world.
Since we have a High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. (Hebrews 4:14)
What do we believe? We believe, first, that the baby Jesus was the human embodiment of God, the Creator. But we also believe that the tiny baby grew up and was crucified to pave the way for us to enter heaven. And further, we believe that He rose again to life to make eternal life possible for us. So yes, we celebrate the birth of that baby, but we celebrate everything that He did that made it possible not only for Him to understand where we are, but for us to one day be able to understand where He is.
So if you feel a little like Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year, know this: the One whose birth we celebrate? He understands. He knows. He gets it. He understands what you’re going through, and this season is about celebrating what He did to make that understanding possible. He came…and He will come again. When that day comes, we’ll see the full picture and will understand things we can only imagine now. When that day comes, the wonder of this season will pale in comparison to the wonder of our eternity. He understands, and one day, we will, too.