What makes Christmas an event to be celebrated
Published 10:30 pm Monday, December 3, 2018
“And ye, beneath life’s crushing load whose forms are bending low, Who toil along the climbing way, with painful steps and slow. Look now, for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing. O rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing!
– Richard S. Willis “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”
Schedules, sales and social events are often the realities of the Christmas experience for many people each year. Fitting into the regular schedules of busy lives is more shopping, family gatherings and decorating appropriately so that the neighbors don’t get ahead of you. Many people are mindful of the crushing load of the season. For some, the crushing load is felt in other ways by the children of God.
This Christmas season for some will be a time of continued mourning for the loss of a loved one. That individual will be noticeably absent from the seasonal chaos and the keeping of family traditions. There will be some loneliness even in the midst of a crowded room full of loving friends and family. But must it be a crushing load?
The words of the host of angels singing “peace and good will toward men” will sound discordant. The beauty of the vision will not be the reality for some. For many individuals and families, this year brought abuse, broken relationships and broken homes. Various addictions took hold and lives were crushed. The Hallmark presentations on television with its happy ending will not be a comfort or joy to these families. Will they hear the hope of what glad and golden hours might come swiftly on the wing?
As families unite for their special gatherings, Moms, Dads, Uncles and Aunts are absent for they are in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and various corners of the world serving our nation in the armed forces. Web streams, on-line phone calls with video and special care packages are found to be of some comfort.
I recall my mother, sisters and I gathered around a small table upon which was a Bible open to the Christmas story in Luke, with candles lighted and our silver tree glimmering with the colors from the revolving light. With tape recorder recording, we sang carols and read the story and then opened gifts so that dad who was serving in Viet Nam would not feel left out of our celebration as a family. It was understood that others were afraid to fully celebrate for fear that word might come to their door that would bring tidings of great sadness.
What makes this Christmas an event to be celebrated? God came down from heaven to live among those whose forms bent low because of the crushing circumstance of life. God, in Christ Jesus, tells us to look expectantly for the good and great joy that is to come for all people.
This joyful event is experienced more fully when we allow God to carry our crushing load for a moment so that we can rest and be comforted by the voices of angels around us. Keep in mind some angels might not sing a well as others, but they are able to be voices of comfort and joy.
Your servant in Christ,
SAM ASKEW is the pastor of Windsor Congregational Christian Church. He can be contacted at 242-4794.