Is it most wonderful, or most worrisome, time of year?

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For many, the Christmas season is a time of joy and cheer. We often look forward to family celebrations and times to reflect upon God’s faithfulness over the past year.

And of course, for the Christian, the season draws us to the manger some 2000+ years ago as God’s son burst upon the scene as a baby. Christmas is and always will be “a most wonderful time of the year.”

But as the calendar turns to December, I have become hauntingly aware that for many, this season isn’t feeling so wonderful. In fact, some have told me Christmas for them is “a most worrisome time of the year.”

It comes as no surprise that the last few years have taken their toll on all people. COVID-19 was a deflating. Fear and conflict raged, and in some ways continue.

Brother has gone to war with brother and the family, which was already fragile, has seen even more deterioration. Marriages have ended, and loneliness has set in for many. It is no wonder that the season of great joy has for many become one more season of worry.

As I write this, I am aware of a woman who is trying to raise four children following the breakup of her marriage. Her ex-husband is defying the courts and is providing no financial support. She can’t afford to live in this time of economic hardship.

She never planned to raise these children alone. And though she is willing to work, she has no good way to afford childcare for her little ones. She is destitute.

“Christmas for me won’t be a wonderful time of year. I can’t afford Christmas.”

Thankfully a church has come forward to help provide for her in this time of need. Someone has offered a house for she and her children rent free for an extended season. She is thankful but worried about what her life is going to be like going forward.

This is only one example of people in desperate need this season. I pray and ask that you might step into the pain of those who are broken and needy this year and bring the Light of the World into their darkness.

It seems every year, the Christmas season becomes more and more secularized … it becomes more and more about the stuff we get and give than about the Christ who came to save the world.

So, what can we as Christians do truly make this Christmas “the most wonderful time of the year?” I humbly offer these suggestions.

First, don’t let the world steal Christmas. Christmas without Christ is broken. When someone tells you happy holidays as you check out from a store, perhaps you can gently return their greeting with a hearty “Merry Christmas!”

Second, Christmas is a great opportunity for Christians to share the light of Christ in a very dark world. Pray for those who are hurting and worried. And better yet, step into their painful places and be the hands and feet of Christ. Feed the hungry. Clothe to poor. Love like Jesus loves.

And finally, spend some time thanking God for the gift of Jesus. So together, let’s carry Christmas to the world!

Mark Adcock is pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship in Fortville. This weekly column is written by local clergy members. Send comments to [email protected].