Rehab center, jail, and illness greet my waking mind. I throw off the covers, put my feet on the floor, close my eyes, and take a deep breath. I trudge into the living room where a Christmas tree, gifts, and stockings meet my eyes. I can’t wrap my mind around the extremes of Merry Christmas and the despondency I feel in my heart.
An epidemic of anxiety, fear, and grief has spread through my family. My litany of sorrows is mind-numbing – my daughter in rehab, my eight-year-old granddaughter wondering why Mommy won’t be home for Christmas, my brother in jail, my sister’s brush with death from an unknown illness that lingers still. Each of these maladies alone could paralyze a family, and each of these situations is so foreign that my family never dreamed of experiencing any of them. Where is the hope, the peace, and the joy of the season?
I pour a cup of coffee, sit down on the couch, and my eyes lock on the Advent wreath adorning my coffee table. The words of the prophet Isaiah, later spoken by Jesus, come to mind, The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free… I gaze at the Advent candles representing hope, love, peace and joy, and feel Christ’s peace gently infuse my spirit.
I know Who the Hope is. I know He is Love. I’ve experienced His Peace. When I focus on Him instead of my circumstances, I feel the constant joy He gives me, even in difficult circumstances. I’ve found the Merry in Christmas, even this year. The Merry in Christmas is Christ. I hope you have Christ in your heart this season – no matter how difficult your life circumstances may be.
Father in Heaven, I pray for my family and for all families who have heavy hearts this Christmas. I pray that You will comfort us and grace us with your peace. Thank You for the gift of Your Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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