The radio’s playing Christmas carols. But perhaps you’re not feeling it.
Less comfort and joy; more tired and fed-up. Less ho-ho-ho, more low, low, low.
Christmas can be hard. If you’re depressed; or anxious; or alone. If you’ve got money problems; or don’t have work. If you’re alone; or with folks you don’t get on with. If you’re not where you want to be. Or maybe you are – but inside you feel dark.
Switch on the television. Celebrities tell us how to have The Best Christmas Ever. Advertisers tell us how to give the perfect gift. You’ve wrapped them already – but there’s one that’s left. So this Christmas, what will you give to the God who has everything? What will you offer to the birthday child?
A broken marriage. Three miscarriages. A jealous heart. An abusive parent. A lifetime of addictions.
An eating disorder. A failed business. A pornography habit. Resentment that’s never been addressed. A betrayal. Acts of violence. Lies. Shame, Fear, Grief, Loneliness.
What will you bring to the God who became a child? Whose birth was marked with rejoicing…and with weeping?
The carol asks “What can I give him, poor as I am?” It closes with these words: “Yet what can I give him? Give my heart.” It’s a nice line. It sounds spiritual and there’s truth to it, but there’s something more radical that Christmas teaches. Isaiah proclaims the true gift. If you identify with “those living in the land of deep shadow,” then “to us a child is born, to us a son is given.” (Isaiah 9:2,6)
What can I give him?
What does he give me?
Himself. Even in all my darkness.
That’s good news of great joy for all people.