Christmas is a wonderful season. Christmas can also be a difficult and stressful season. It’s a season full of great opportunities and increased goodwill. And, when you combine high expectations, a packed calendar, extra expenses, and family . . . it can also be a difficult and painful season.
Beginning this Sunday, and through the Advent/Christmas season, we’re going to take a break from 1 Peter to focus on “The Joys & Pains of Christmas.” Unfortunately, it can be a challenge for us as Christians to meet Christ and focus on him during the longest Christ-focused calendar season of the year. Why is that? Is it possible for Christmas time to be a special sacred time of worship, healing, and spiritual growth? That’s going to be our focus, goal, and hope this Christmas here at Church of the Redeemer. This Sunday, and next week in our Daily Worship Devotions, we begin by considering “Christmas & Family.”
Christmas is especially a “family time.” We see that clearly in EVERY Hallmark Christmas movie. Even Die Hard (yes, a Christmas movie), has a focus on family and familial longings and hopes. It’s a time where we gather with grandparents, parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, and extended family. For many, it’s a time when we especially miss or think about family members who are no longer with us, can’t be with us this year, or who are estranged from us. We want each Christmas to be a special and memorable family time. And, yes, for most/many, we are somewhere on the spectrum between dreading family time or praying that we can just survive Christmas time without things getting worse than they already are.
So, as you prepare your heart, mind, and soul for worship this Sunday, take some time to read, reflect, and meditate on the following passages that concern family, family + Christianity, and the first Christmas. Jesus’ family struggled too. Jesus’ family experienced the joys of family – and also the pain, disappointment, frustration, sin, and brokenness of family. See Luke 2:25-38, Mark 3:31-35, and John 19:25-27.
During this special season, I especially look forward to worshiping with you, my church family, this Sunday.
Yours in Christ,