They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year. And to me, it is. I love this season, but as I see the lights and decorations go up, I’m reminded of how much the holidays can hurt.
The hurt of the holidays varies for each person. Some of us hold small pieces of hurt during this time. Some of us hold big pieces of hurt during this time. Some of us hold an altogether different type of hurt that seems… aggravated during this season of joy.
The loss of a loved one. The loss of a dream. The end of a friendship. The loss of a job. The grief of living with a new health issue or physical limitation. The reminder that a dream is unfulfilled- for another year. The grief of a torn family. The ongoing battle of mental illness. The list of our hurts goes on and on.
What do we do when we hurt during the most wonderful time of the year?
We turn to Jesus.
It may sound cliché, but this season was made for Him. No, this season was made BECAUSE of Him. Outside of the consumerism of American culture, Christmas was made to rejoice in Him. To be reminded of His birth and what that means for us. We wouldn’t have Christmas without His birth. We wouldn’t have Christmas without Him.
We celebrate the beginning of the story because of the end of the story. Because He died for us. He died for us so we could find refuge in Him. So when it hurts, we can turn to Him and we find comfort in Him.
For all of us.
No matter where you are, no matter who you are. No matter what you’ve done or haven’t done. No matter what. There is no argument that exempts you from Jesus. He was born because He was going to die for you. So we celebrate the beginning of the story.
When your hurt surfaces this season, I ask you to do two things:
1. Go to Him. Give Him your hurt. He wants it. It doesn’t have to be pretty or eloquent or well spoken. It can be raw and harsh and loud and snotty and tearful. And that makes it beautiful. Because He wants your heart- all of it- that includes your hurt. He may not take your hurt away, but He will hold it with you. He will sit beside you as you allow yourself to experience whatever emotion is there. He will be there with you. And not just beside you, He’ll grieve with you- He’ll yell or cry or sit with you, He’ll BE with you. So turn to Him, because He’s waiting.
2. Look at Him. During my darkest time, I could only look at my loss. I could only see my grief and my anger. There was a specific moment when I knew He was pleading with me to stop looking past Him and to look into His eyes. And when I did, I was enveloped by Him and His love. I looked into the eyes of my tender Savior and saw He was grieving with me. My pain didn’t go away. It never will, but when I looked at Him, I was reminded there’s more than my pain and my hurt and my loss. He reminded me of His sovereignty and that despite my pain, He still reigns. He is the essence of life. He didn’t ask me to stop hurting and pretend like it’s okay. He just asked me to look at Him. So look at Him, friend, He’ll show you a new piece of Himself that is both tender and powerful.
One of the most hope-filled Scriptures to me is John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace IN ME. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” (capitalization mine)
I need a Savior, I need Him who has overcome the world. I need to know that there is Someone greater than my pain and my hurt and my sorrow. I need to know that despite all that’s here, there’s more.
Whether your hurt is small, big, or consuming this season, don’t forget that He has overcome the world.
And that’s why, in the midst of the hurt of the holidays, you can also have the joy of the holidays. Because the holidays aren’t about the joys of this earth, as rich as they can be. The holidays are about Him. The holidays are about His birth because that brought His death which brought His resurrection. His resurrection is where He defeated death and pain and darkness. Not in the way we want or need or always can see. But, friend, He won. He won for us. He won for you. And that is something we can rejoice in while we hurt.