Sounds of Christmas
Hot coffee brewing into red holiday cups, Michael Bublé crooning carols over every store speaker, and the jingles of Salvation Army bells ringing outside every Hobby Lobby.
Christmas is here again! It’s the holiday sure to put a pep in your step and a bright smile on your face!
Except for those years it doesn’t.
Some years are just hard. Some years Christmas reminds us of loss. A stocking is missing on the mantle, a hard relationship somehow becomes harder, and we paste on smiles to make it through the family meal. Some years we just feel off.
If you’re following along in our Gospel Reading Plan, you may have noticed the ironic timing of the readings during this Advent season. We are smack dab in the middle of the brutal death of our Savior and the events leading up to it. We hear the crack of a whip and the heartbreak of a mother watching her son in pain. It’s a strange juxtaposition, hearing the cries of childbirth in a rundown stable next to the sobs of death at the foot of a cross.
But maybe there is an intentional beauty found in that irony. Maybe the rustic setting of the stable and the humiliating death we see coming is meant to remind us that sometimes life is hard, and that’s OK. Sometimes Christmas is hard, and that’s OK. Sometimes the peppy step never lands and the smile stays pasted on, and that’s OK. Jesus never shied away from the hard feelings. He never balked at grief or turned his back on pain. He sat with the joyful and the mournful alike.
The very essence of Jesus’ time on earth was dotted with pain and joy, with laughing and grieving, sometimes in the very same breath. The life he lived on earth was filled with all the best and worst moments of being human. He rejoiced with the widow being given back her only son and he heaved tears of sorrow with his closest friends at the news of their brother’s death. He knew the brightest moments of life as well as the dark, and he understood that those desperately black nights can eradicate all hope of joy ever entering again.
But, as the angel told the frightened shepherds on a dark night in a lonely field, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
Light had arrived.
Whether you find yourself happily humming along to the sounds of Christmas or slowly plodding through this Advent season with a heavy heart, remember the birth of Jesus was the beginning of a life which would bring an end to death—permanently.
Reagan Perkins and her family have been attending Summit for the past five years and is one of the volunteer writers for the SUMMIT Magazine. She likes to write, cook, and try not to kill things in the garden. You can (and should) read her personal blog right here. You can also find her thoughts from the beginning of the Gospel Reading Plan here.