Christmas is supposed to be one of those lovely seasons - right? Except when it's not. Except when it's broken. Here we are, just a few short days after Christmas. And the anticipation of the season may have fallen far short of your expectations.
A cancer diagnosis. A child who's far away from home. A runaway spouse. Unemployment. Loneliness. Ugh ... broken Christmas.
When life breaks all around us at Christmas we wonder what we've done wrong, and just where God is in this season.
He's where he's always been, at Christmas: Emmanuel - God with us.
Sure, you read the Christmas story, and probably heard some songs and sermons about the miracle of Christmas. You screwed your faith in place. But did you understand that the very first Christmas was a broken Christmas? It began with a pregnant, unwed teen girl and a fiancé who wondered if she might have cheated on him. It continued with an elderly cousin of this teenager, also pregnant, whose pastor husband didn't believe she could be pregnant. He was struck silent until the birth of his son.
A census was ordered where the young couple had to undergo a three-day journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem - even though she was far along in her pregnancy. And then the first Christmas was born in a cattle trough, amongst animals, in a manger because there was no room for the little family in a proper inn.
Yes, the first Christmas was a broken Christmas, when God so loved our broken world that he gave his only son to be born, to grow up and walk this broken planet and to eventually die on a cross with his body broken for our need.
Aren't you glad? Emmanuel, God with us, has come to our broken world to redeem and mend us.
Rather than putting your Christmas as far behind you as possible, can you acknowledge that even in the midst of your brokenness, Emmanuel came? For you.
Merry broken Christmas.
Elisa Morgan's The Beauty of Broken has encouraged thousands of readers to find redemption through their stories. Her newest book, Hello, Beauty Full, is now available. Read it for your own growth, or share it in a group study. There are discussion questions and teaching videos available. Elisa is the cohost of Discover the Word and a regular speaker at events around the country.