12 Comments to 'A Lonely Christmas'
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…I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now.
Be with me now.
Breath of Heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of Heaven… -Excerpt from Breath of Heaven, by Amy Grant
This weekend, people are beginning to gather. Travelers determined to be with family and friends for “The Holidays” crowd the airports and highways. In the malls and grocery stores, shoppers frantically pick up the trimmings for the celebrations. It is the time for being together.
But it’s not happiness for everyone. For every warm welcome and friendly kiss, there is an empty seat and a lonely heart. The holidays can sting.
If you are grieving this Christmas, if this season accents loss or loneliness for you, perhaps you will find comfort when you meditate on the first Christmas.
It wasn’t celebrated around a dining room table, covered with steaming dishes and a succulent turkey. There wasn’t a house filled with family and friends. It wasn’t even in December.
No – the first Christmas was a time of joy set in the midst of suffering and loneliness. The cruelties of the human condition – exhaustion, hunger, loneliness, want, pain – this was what Mary and Joseph faced the night Jesus was born.
I can’t imagine how Mary must have felt. Young and terrified, she faced birth in a dark and dirty stable, without her mother or other women she trusted. She had no comforts to ease her, no home to welcome her child. But there was still joy – a joy that could not be touched by suffering.
The joy of Christmas is God loving us and saving us. It is not found in pretty packages and perfect memories. It is not found in friends and family.
So if you are holding back tears right now, rejoice as you let them fall. Cling to that first Christmas – a promise of salvation.
The first worshipers didn’t know what that salvation would be, the promise of it did not erase their present trials, but they were filled with inexplicable joy. The shepherd’s feet still burned under the straps of their crude sandals, their bodies still ached from their journey as they set out to return to their lonely fields. Mary and Joseph still faced days and nights with a newborn and no home in which to bathe, care and feed him. Instead of going home to their families, they fled in the night and became refugees in a foreign land.
There was still suffering for each of them. But they had a promise – and so do we.
I love Amy Grant’s song “Breath of Heaven.” I found a version of it on YouTube that has clips from the movie Jesus of Nazareth set to the original Amy Grant audio. I hope it blesses you.