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Wishing you Christmas Joy

The holiday season carries all kinds of emotions for many of us. As children, it was mostly excitement about gifts and being with relatives. As we grow and life happens, sadness, pain, and anxiety seem to get mixed in there and can mess with our joy. Many of you know that my personal story has a lot of loss - much of it in the month of December. For a while, it was hard for me to see Christmas lights without returning to the sadness in my childhood of driving to my mom's hospital bed and, a couple years later, her funeral while passing lots of beautiful Christmas lights. I'd mostly gotten past that as an adult when, in another December, I rushed to Florida to be by my precious sister's side as she passed from this life. As I was in a sad fog catching flights back home, Christmas music was blaring, people were snatching up gifts in the airport shops, and I felt like I just couldn't feel happy or want to celebrate Christmas. But you know what? Emanuel - the God With Us, whispered in my ear. He reminded me that the night He came into the world it was full of chaos, full of despair, full of hustle and bustle. And He came gently into that world to bring us hope, to be God With Us. That's what Christmas is about. It's not about all the stuff we've made it. It's about being able to have joy in the midst of whatever it is that we're going through because a baby was born who came to walk with us through it.