Each year begins and ends differently. Christmas day is a benchmark of how my year has been. As a child, the coming of Christmas was a time of excitement and anticipation. As an adult, the coming of Christmas is a time of memories and reflection. The American holiday season is a time that acutely highlights what we should have and what we don’t have. Christmas becomes symbolic for longing. The longing for a Messiah does not seem to end with the reminder that the Christ is born. I long for the joyful aspects of my life as a child. I long for the fulfillment of the joy I expected to experience as an adult. Life got in the way, again and again. My parents are gone. My family is far away; or close, but not accessible. Promises were broken. Dreams were delayed. Hopes were derailed. I built new families and joined new communities. I am proud of myself for forging new paths. Yet, I live in a starkly silent home; and it hurts. The Lord said: “It is not good for man to be alone” [Genesis 2:18]. Loneliness is like a deep cavern of the soul. Just as God did not make human beings to live in caves; He did not make human beings to be alone. So God sent Jesus into the world as the light of the world. [John 9:4-6].
My need for a savior, a Messiah, the light of Christ, is a year-round, 365-day, type of need. My constant need for the Christ is why I am personally and deeply grateful that the “Word became human and made his home among us.” [ John 1:14 NLT] I can celebrate the wondrous birth of the baby Jesus, because I believe he came for me. “Even if my father and mother left me all alone, the Lord would take me in” [Psalm 27:10 CEB]. When I am painfully aware that the conditions in my home hurt, I remember that God is with me. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” [Psalm 147:3 NIV]. Knowing that God is with me; that he will never leave me or forsake me [Hebrews 13:5], comforts me. It also gives me the courage that I need to confront the hardest challenge-the one right in front of me, my life and my home. I can turn to the Lord, the Christ, with confidence. He will be with me as I sort through my pains and memories from the past. He will be there as I plan for the new year and my future. I can end this year and start the next one: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” [Titus 2:13 KJV]