I don’t know if your Christmas was like mine (a succession of grim fought battles) but it seems many were. I was feeling a little down, a little lacking in “Christmas spirit”. Then I heard a voice in my heart. “Christmas was full of battles, battles and great joy,” it whispered.
I reflected on the Christmas story, anything but “warm and fuzzy”, with its fearful visitations, rejection and humiliation, its hard journey on the jolting back of a donkey to find no refuge, or comfort at journeys end. Its having to flee from a tyrant’s wrath. Yet woven into the fabric of fear and stress were those moments of supreme joy – the birth of God among men, the prophecies fulfilled, the arrival of shepherds, who alone understood the symbolism of the sacrificial lamb, wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger, the visit of the magi, wisest of the wise, who read the signs and provided the means for their trip to Egypt.
I realised I had experienced a true Christmas.
God had made it possible against all odds for my daughter’s Danish husband to make it home from Greenland for Christmas (oh the joy in their faces!) Another daughter’s abrupt panic and seeming relapse into long covid, on hearing news of a new strain, was slowly replaced by peace and wellbeing. Best of all the diagnosis that my soon to be eighth grandson and beloved youngest daughter could be in danger proved to be a miscalculation. Mother and baby are fine and nearing a regular delivery the consultant confirmed. Battles though these were, each turned to a resounding victory heralding great joy, far more precious than the warm fuzzy feelings I’d been hoping for.
Strangely having recognised this, the Lord gave me the Christmas I’d been seeking, not on Dec 25th. but soon after, a peaceful day full of all the joys of Christmas, good food, games, carols, and a Christmas movie, celebrated with a dear friend and abounding in “warm, fuzzy feelings”. The Lord is so good to us!
Perhaps though we should remember, particularly in these days, a Christian’s path tends to be strewn with battles and war, victory and intense joy, rather than warm fuzzy feelings.