Of all calendar times, Christmas highlights most the contrast between the concept of joy and peace in Christmas and the realities most people live. People may occasionally despise the disparity, but Christmas is nobody’s enemy. People, deeper down, may realise it’s not Christmas’ fault, but the gap between fantasy and reality is never starker than at Christmas.
There is also more angst in families at Christmas time. As people juggle the dissonance between the image of Christmas, and how the media tells us we should feel about it (which subconsciously raises our ire), and the many and varied ways that loneliness, loss, and disappointment play out in our lives, dissension rises in the tones of stress, especially when we’re busier than we’d like to be. Outbursts ought to be more forgivable at Christmas. But, sadly, the most often polarise us, because of our own sensitivities.
There’s nothing wrong with the ideals of Christmas, the halcyon of which is “God with us,” in Jesus, the Saviour of the world, coming to earth. Everything about Christmas piques the imagination toward the prosperity of God giving Himself to us. Safety, goodwill, and hope all embody what we know Christmas to be, because Jesus came. God, in flesh, with His Spirit.
It’s reasonable to feel blue at Christmas. There’s a gap between reality and the image of Christmas. That gap is small in many of our lives, for we have much to be thankful for. But there are times in all our lives when the gap is cavernous. For some, it’s an event that makes times like these never the same as they once were. And, though we still have much to be thankful for, the gap speaks an irrepressible voice.
But there is hope, even within the cavernous gap. That hope is true joy, as if we thought we knew it beforehand, without truly knowing it. True joy is first experienced after having known pain; the voice in a baritone tenor.
Joy is a journey where depths plunged create a larger vocal range, where the voice can speak of experiences previously untold.
A blue Christmas is a sign that we’re on the journey to a truer joy. God has revealed a deeper experience of life that will not only make us fit for feeling pain, but will fit us for a deeper, more abiding joy.
The experience of joy is improved through enduring pain, so don’t lose hope, because true joy is a deep reality.