December 02, 2010

What if You Can't Celebrate?

Luke 2:8-20

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy …”
Luke 2:10


Sometime during last year’s Advent season I received a letter from someone telling me she could not possibly celebrate Christmas. Too many bad things had happened to her during December. She said, “I have a hard time listening to people sing ‘Joy to the World,’ because I feel no joy at all.”

She’s not alone. Experts tell us that thousands of people can’t wait for Christmas to be over. Some counseling centers offer special sessions during December for people who have a hard time celebrating Christmas because of past experiences or memories. For them there is no joy, regardless of the angel’s promise 2,000 years ago.

But it’s precisely because of the many joy-killers in our lives that we need to listen to the angel’s message. Without the Savior, life is just too heavy. We need his closeness to help us make it through. And to experience the joy he came to bring, we have to do as the shepherds did: they went to see the Savior. They went to worship him!

If you find it difficult to celebrate Christmas this year, take this opportunity to spend time with your Lord. Listen closely to the good news of Scripture, and sincerely tell God how you feel. When you do, you will experience something of God’s peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:4-7).

Lord Jesus, for some of us the Christmas season can be difficult and without joy. Please help us experience some of the joy you came to bring. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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