I believe some of the best things in life begin with C: Christ, children, and chocolate, just to name a few. I love the music at BCF. Fun fact: My husband, Scott, and I were part of the first Celebrate Recovery band in 1997.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those whose spirits are crushed.
Psalm 34:18 (Common English Bible)
This time last year we found ourselves adding a last-minute road trip days before Christmas. December 22, 2016 found us in Houston to meet yet another doctor. For several years we have been struggling with the illness of one of our children. We had been told different things by different doctors and prescribed different medicines; each one turning out not to be effective and many having unbearable side effects. The latest doctor breezes in and very quickly gives a diagnosis. A life altering diagnosis for one of our children, one we had suspected and been fearful of. We gather our stuff, the stuff a parent of a special needs child carries. The doctor meets us at the front desk and gives me a binder and a book. Only later do I realize, in the fog of my exhaustion and disappointment, I forgot to thank her. Excuse me while I gather up my broken heart from the floor. Three. Days. Before. Christmas. Have you been there? Broken dreams? A broken heart?
Sometimes, Christmas isn’t happy. Sometimes it is the very worst time of year. Pastor Kenny has told us, if you haven’t encountered hard times, just wait. You will… and sometimes these hard times come at Christmas.
How do we cope? In the darkest of days, I think it is less about celebrating Jesus’ birthday and more about realizing why He came. He was born to die, to give us a future and a hope. His death and resurrection defeated sin so we could have the gift of eternal life. Hope for today and hope for eternity. Jesus, the Son of God, came as a baby. The Bible tells us He would be called Emmanuel: it means, “God with us.” This gives me hope.
Hope is not found in tamales, Santa, or a Christmas tree. Hope beyond a diagnosis, exhaustion, and heartache is found in keeping our focus on Jesus, not necessarily on Christmas. That hope can carry me (and you!) through whatever heart-ache you are carrying this Christmas season. That hope is found in the realization that God is with us. You are not alone. The Bible tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” If your heart is broken this Christmas season, know that Jesus is close beside you. He is a personal God that hurts when we hurt. There will be other, happier Christmases, but this year, keep your focus on Jesus—not on Christmas.