The Pain of Christmas

The Christmas season seems to go by faster every year. The songs, dinners, parties and get-togethers seem to blend into a blur of Christmas lights, cookies, and traveling. It is a time for friends and a time for family. As a pastor, even I can be distracted by all of these very good things- missing the most important thing about Christmas: The birth of hope. 

 

When I take the time between the cookies and shopping to think about Christmas, my mind is not drawn to Mary and Joseph in a manger immediately. I am reminded first of a different couple: Adam and Eve. You see, Adam and Eve were all that we could have been as humanity. Perfect and limitless from a human perspective, Adam and Eve had everything going for them in Genesis 3. God walked with them in paradise and they reflected His glory. God had one rule to protect them from pain and suffering: Do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It wasn’t a rule from a dictator to control Adam and Eve; it was a plea of a loving father to protect them. They chose to ignore God’s plan and Adam and Eve ate from the fruit. In that moment, their eyes were opened to brokenness and pain and suffering. They suffered from knowledge of evil and it broke them.

 

You may ask, “Why is my mind drawn to such a sad and depressing part of our history during Christmas, one of the happiest times of the year?” We all understand pain and evil in the world. Suffering and death are in the news and in our lives every day. Why would I dwell on these things during one of the happiest times of the year? I think on this story of brokenness because despite the pain, God had a plan to restore what Adam lost for us: perfection. God had a plan to rescue us from pain and suffering. He would restore all of us to paradise. In Genesis, right after Adam and Eve made a choice that meant pain and suffering for hundreds of generations, God promised a solution: Jesus. 

 

You may have heard Jesus is the reason for the season. This is true because we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25th, but what we really celebrate is hope. In Christ, we have hope that our lives will not always be hampered by disability, baggage, frustration, pain, and death. In Christ, we have hope that we will be restored to what we could have been if Adam and Eve hadn’t made their choice. 

 

So at Christmas, I think of Adam and Eve first. Like them, I am blessed but I choose my own way, and I ignore the plan that God has for me. When I choose my way, I disregard my God and friend and open the way for brokenness and pain in my life. Christmas is about being rescued and restored with the birth of hope, knowing God won’t leave us. He sent hope into the world for me and for you.