|Creative Commons License photo credit: wolfsavard|
Is the merry leaking from your Christmas? Did the advent season start with sharp edges like a broken ornament? Does society's tar-la-la-ing rub you the wrong way when you are struggling with discord, illness, or outright tragedy?
First of all, free yourself from "should." Your legitimate (as opposed to deranged) thoughts and feelings don't have to match the Hallmark commercials. But if you can't point to any good thing in your life right now, seek help.
Second, consider how and why you celebrate Christmas the way you do. It's okay to scale back, or cut out the trappings of tradition. Instead, concentrate on nurturing relationships.
Third, if you are a person of the Christian faith, remember that this wasn't a great time for Mary either. She was pregnant before the wedding and a lot of folks didn't believe in her virgin birth 2000 years ago any more than they do today. In her ninth month, she hiked one hundred miles. Or if she was lucky she jostled on a donkey's back. And then she delivered her first child without her mama, in a cave, with Who Knows as midwife.
From the angel's briefing to the humble birth, nothing matched Mary's ideas of becoming a mother. Yet despite the circumstances, she hoped in the promise from the angel, "the Lord is with you" and she "treasured" the shepherds eye witness account of the angelic birth announcement, "pondering [these things] in her heart."
The reason we celebrate Jesus is because He is the hope of the world. He promises that eventually those who love him won't cry any more tears. Hope abides with Him even when hurt stomps all over your heart.
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17