Sometimes it seems like Christmas is all happiness and light, but it’s not that way for everyone. In the midst of joy and brightness, there is sorrow and suffering, made even darker when suffering saints inevitably compare their circumstances to the jolliness it seems everyone else is experiencing.
But maybe you’re not jolly at all. Your marriage is falling apart, and you don’t know what’s next because your spouse doesn’t seem to care. Your doctor has no answers, and neither does the next doctor or the next, and while you wait, you’re scared because you don’t know what the problem is. Bills stack up, and there’s stress about all the presents you’re supposed to buy. Anxiety creeps in and won’t leave. The ache from your missing loved one is unbearable.
It’s not just your own life – the world is dark too. Persecution grows, wickedness abounds, divisiveness increases, and there is distress everywhere you look.
You’re waiting for the trouble to end, for the happy-ever-after to get started, but life isn’t a fairy tale, and it’s hard to face the fact that things aren’t turning out like they were supposed to, like they seem to be for everyone else.
It’s not easy, and there’s no magic answer to make it better, but this is not the first time God’s people have waited. Between the Old and New Testaments, they didn’t hear from God for 400 years. Four. Hundred. Years. That’s a while, and they must have been filled with despair on many days.
They knew God had made promises to his people that a Messiah was coming to deliver them, but he put no time limit on his words, so they just had to wait. They must have searched the scriptures, reading those promises over and over.
And then, finally, after centuries, the promises began coming true. The virgin conceived, the child was born, the angels sang, the shepherds worshiped.
We’re waiting now, too, for more of God’s promises to be fulfilled, the promises that say he will come again, that he will gather his children to himself, that he will end Satan once and for all, that death and pain and sorrow will be no more.
We long for that reality to be true, and as we wait, we’re in the in-between. Christ has already come to Earth once, but he has not yet come again. Knowing he is returning doesn’t make the waiting easy, but it gives hope when hope is in short supply, when all around us is crumbling and the dark threatens to extinguish the light.
Hold on, the promises are urging us, hold on. Wait through tears, but wait with hope because God came once as a baby so that he could come again as a conquering King to make all things new.
Everyday Christmas is a series of Advent meditations designed to connect the everyday happenings of our lives to the coming of Christ to Earth as a baby. Find links to the entire series here.