Have you noticed or experienced how Christmas seems to tap into the soul’s emptiness for many, if not all of us?
We are living in troubled times, world-wide! Something happened to our nation’s psyche because of what happened in Newtown, Connecticut. Yes, we saw and heard encouraging stories of compassion pouring out to the families of children that were slain by a mass murderer. As appreciative as the families are of the support, I know you know that the parents, families and their friends will have a profound emptiness that makes Christmas seem hollow this year. I felt that over twenty-seven years ago when my father died. I thought, “Will there ever be a new normal where joy to the world is meaningful again?”
In my counseling work, this is the time of year where those who’ve encountered broken marriages and homes have a hard time making sense of faith and the Christmas story. I don’t mean intellectually, but in an emotional, painful way.
Then there are those who have not. They want so bad to be able to give something to love ones that can say “You are worthy and I’m glad to have you in my life.” There are sales lowering product to get us to buy so we can do that, but then, it seems like the prices aren’t low enough and a cloud of sadness prevails over many.
Religious talk doesn’t get the job done if what we want is to feel full again. To be alive! James said to believers “…it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is not faith at all—it is dead and useless.” James 2:17 NLT We’re all looking for a connection and a fullness that only Jesus can supply but he wants believers to express their good deeds as evidence and not the energizer of a sincere faith.
I applaud anyone out there in our world making a difference for the better. Today, Ann Curry, a CBS News correspondent asked, “What can I do after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre?” She came up with an idea that went viral. Perform 26 acts of kindness in honor of those who died at the school. That is something which embraces emptiness to make something meaningful happen and it came out of Ann Curry’s heart.
I think that’s the Modus Operandi Jesus is about. He embraces the emptiness in our lives due to sin in this world, to come up with the one act of kindness where anyone can have a relationship with him. And in our souls, we can still be full, even when we have a hard time with the idea of Christmas due to so much pain. Only Jesus can do that through his birth and then resurrection from death on a cross. Without that, nothing makes sense or ever will in my view. Hope is kept alive because He is alive!