Several years ago. author John Grisham penned a book titled, “Skipping Christmas”. It is a fun story about a couple, the Kranks, who have just become empty nesters. Early in the holiday season, they come to the conclusion that if they forgo all their holiday gift giving, decorating and charitable donations, they can give themselves the gift of a tropical cruise, departing on Christmas Day. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but they find it is difficult to escape the hustle and bustle of the season. They find out just how great the expectations are of those around them, and they have some pretty hilarious encounters.
I’m sure there are times for all of us when we would prefer to just “skip” Christmas. For some, these days bring the reality of loneliness and heartbreak a little closer to the forefront. Grief and loss seem somewhat more profound this time of year when memories of brighter Christmases come to mind. We can certainly find ourselves feeling a bit more melancholy than holly-jolly.
So what is the answer? Can we just “survive” until the season is past? Do we burrow ourselves in our grief and pain until the new year and hope no one notices? How do we get away from the stress and pain and celebrate instead?
I believe in these times, we grasp on to the HOPE that is always within us. Sometimes we hang on to HOPE by a small thread and other times we might feel as if it doesn’t exist at all. The reality is, HOPE IS ALWAYS THERE. Somewhere, in the depths of our souls, hope resides.
The reason we celebrate, gather together, worship is because HOPE was born on Christmas. In a dark place, on a difficult night, in a moment of deep dispair and suffering for so many, HOPE was born. “And they called his name, Jesus, because he will save his people.”
Let’s not “skip” Christmas. Let’s embrace the HOPE it brings to us all and allow the light to envelop our dark and hurting souls. I have a feeling that like my fictional friends, the Kranks, we will find that even if Christmas looks a bit different, there is always reason to celebrate.
“Unto us a child is born; Unto us a Son is given. And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6