I love Christmas. Yet as the sun-filled summer Christmas days of my childhood blend with the European winter festivities around me, I see more and more that for many people Christmas is not so merry. Yes, it is often a cherry-coloured cheer-filled time of gifts and abundant food. Yet for many, Christmas time can flow with a stream of longing—for loved ones, for times flown by. There may be a seat left empty, a hand not held, a meal missed, a favourite wine not poured.
As a child my gift-glazed eyes never saw that there is a need to let people breathe, cry, lean together, be silent. So that those who are wrestling with life—have lost a job or a loved one (even many, many years ago) or those fighting disease or any number of inner or outer wars—can feel refreshed, thought about, heartened that it is ok to not feel so…well,…merry. We can give people space to feel silently or tangibly loved with a hug, a shared moment, a toast, a roast, a laugh, a cry, a moment to remember when we said goodbye.
Maybe this type of Christmas sunshine will remind us that each of us is deeply loved and that a certain birth-day is a great reason to re-join the path of joy. There in the midst of it all, I hear a cry, a vulnerable infant ready to soak the world with peace, with love, to rescue us from our idea that we can fix it all, that we can mend all wounds, that we can make it all merry. His joy is a breath of love in time.