When You’re Looking for the “Merry” in Merry Christmas

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According to Thesaurus.com , “merry” stirs up warm-hot-chocolaty-feelings like  “cheerful, jolly, fun-loving, hilarious” while her bothersome nemesis throws in words like  “depressed, gloomy, sad,” and my  personal favorite,  “unfunny”. 🙂

While most of the world is shouting “Merry Christmas to all,” I often think about  those who are having the not-so-merry-feelings who are hearing a different bell at Christmas — one that sounds more like a 3-alarm fire…a diagnosis–it’s cancer! …overwhelming sadness over the loss of one you loved so deeply who isn’t sitting at the Christmas dinner with you this year …longing to hold that baby in your arms again …agonizing scenes of the children in Aleppo fighting for their lives every day …anxieties that grip like a vice and don’t seem to let go …and loneliness when “hearts will be glowing” seems an illusion because loved ones can’t be near …

For many, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” feels more like a sour note of pain, anger, loss, rejection, injustice or even fear …fear of the unknown, fear of the known, fear of the “what if’s”, fear of not being able to control the circumstances around you, fear of not measuring up, fear of losing your job, your family, your identity, fear about not having enough money to pay your bills, fear of social settings, fear of  family gatherings …or the lack of, fear of that new adventure of faith God is calling you to!

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In looking through the Christmas story in Luke chapters 1 and 2, I glanced at all the phrases I had highlighted over time and I wondered how it would “read” if I just read those.  Who knew there was so much afraid-ness (yes, my new word) in the Christmas story.  It began to ring in some good tidings that there were some people in this story I could really relate to!  Maybe the heroes of the story had their doubts and fears as well.  Maybe the ones God chooses aren’t so different from you and me.  Maybe they’re just ordinary people who pushed through their fear and sadness and doubt.

I don’t have all the answers  wrapped up in a box with a bow on top but in these phrases tucked in the Christmas story, I found hope.

See if you relate to any of these emotions …

“Zechariah was shaken and overwhelmed with fear when he saw him…” (1:12)

And to all those who were just doing your  job like a good little boy or girl  and God met you there and asked you to step out into something way bigger than you felt equipped to handle, He answers…

“Don’t be afraid.” (1:13)

And if you heard what the Holy Spirit spoke to you but you are, like Mary …

“Confused and disturbed …”(1:29)

He answers again…

“Don’t be afraid. For nothing is impossible with God.” (1:30, 37)

And after a while, with Zechariah, you’ll be able to declare…

“He has sent us a mighty Savior …we have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.” (1:69, 74-75)

And if the days of sadness, loss or anxiety seem to string together like lights on a Christmas tree that strangely went out this year  …or the dark cloud of depression or deep sadness came over you like a heavy blanket, God sheds light on that too…

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (1:78-79)

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And don’t feel badly if you were like the shepherds and were “terrified”  (2:9) when God announced something huge to you about a coming event or a promise that you weren’t expecting.  He will reassure you and tell you once again…

“Don’t be afraid.” (2:10)

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And if you’ve been “eagerly waiting” (2:25) like Simeon  for a very long time for a promise to be fulfilled that seems long in coming

Listen to the Holy Spirit. Let Him lead you to the right place at the right time …

“That day the Spirit led him to the Temple.  So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there.” (2:27-28)

And while you’re  waiting for our deliverance, consider these words from my Ramblin’ Man husband, Roger, and look with anticipation …even if it seems unusual or unexpected or out-of-the-ordinary.

“The deliverance was going to look different than anyone expected, because the problem was deeper than anyone realized.”  (Roger Martin)

And as we wait for the redemption of all that is messed up  in this  world,  listen to these words in the video below and take heart …deliverance IS coming. You are not alone!  Follow the Christmas story to Jesus and receive the Light that overcomes the darkness.

(John 1:5 , Acts 26:18 NLT )

*Bible passages in the post above were taken from Luke 1-2 (New Living Translation)

 

 

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