When I was a kid Christmas was a highlight of the year. I looked forward to getting out of school. Out of town family came to visit. We would devour a delicious turkey dinner. And, most of all I would get to open presents!
As an adult Christmas is a “highlight” in a completely different way. Like a yellow marking highlight pen draws your attention to a word or sentence that is buried in a page of words and sentences, Christmas tends to highlight life realities that are buried in “life pages” of experiences.
Recently I served with my Rotary Club to put on an annual Christmas party for challenged families that live in the Redmond area. We matched up forty something children with an adult shopping buddy and took them to a local department store and bought them clothes and toys. Afterward we all had breakfast with Santa and enjoyed a magic show.
The following Monday I received a few calls on behalf of the families who had been invited but didn’t come. Mostly the parents were simply dysfunctional and irresponsible and didn’t get up and drive to the party. Now they wanted to know if they could still get money to go shopping on their own. They live this way all the time and the children frequently suffer because of it. It is highlighted and more obvious at Christmas.
For many, marital tension will run high over the next few days. Financial pressures will squeeze. Dissatisfaction with the status quo will be acute. Others who have had a low grade depression will sink further.
I’m not trying to be gloomy. It’s all just “highlighted” for me at this time of year…..and that’s not bad.
It’s difficult for us to see and appreciate Good News if we’re not well aware of the bad news. Life is hard. For many, life is sad and debilitating.
Christmas is not only a highlight of what is broken in this world but it is THE highlight of God’s provision for brokenness, Jesus Christ.
I’m praying that we all get the Christmas “Presence” that we most need.