Monday, December 22, 2008

True Christmas Spirit

When I think of Christmas I always get this mental image in my mind of what I think it should be. I picture the perfect Christmas centering around time spent with extended family. There's the tree, surrounded by lots of presents; the meal, consisting of the biggest spread you could ever ask for; and the fellowship, hanging out after a day of opening presents and eating... and possibly a nap on the couch.

Christmas is comfortable, warm, happy. I think of the song lyrics, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light. From now on our troubles will be out of sight..."

And while the reality is, those words are so unrealistic, it's what I've come to expect from this time of year.

But this year, all those expectations are starting to fade as Christmas isn't feeling as warm, merry, or trouble-free. I'm starting to realize why, for some people, Christmas is a season of sadness.

My grandpa is dying, my parents will be leaving to be with him, and all of a sudden Christmas isn't light. It's hard and sad and uncertain and I have mixed feelings about how I should be feeling.

I can feel sorry for myself, sit around and pout, and admittedly, I have done some of that. I can feel sad and hopeless, as though this were the end of the world, and admittedly, I've done some of that too. But what I really want to be focusing on is the fact that the true meaning and purpose behind Christmas isn't entirely light, warm, and merry.

Certainly the birth of the Christ child was a merry occasion. The Salvation of the world had come. But salvation isn't free, and the birth meant that there was certain death to come. But even in the dark sadness of this death, there was hope and life for all who believed.

For my grandpa, and for the rest of the family, there is hope and life and light. Grandpa is trusting in Jesus and soon he will be with him. He will spend eternity with the Light of the World. He will have life everlasting. And while this Christmas season we will feel his absence, ultimately, this is a wonderful joyous time for us all. One day we will be with Grandpa in heaven, and until then, I know that he will be praising God and walking with Jesus. And with that in mind, I can "let my heart be light."

Jesus really is the reason for the season.

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