Christmas is a holy day. It is also unarguably our culture’s biggest holiday on the books. This brings a little discomfort to me. Each Christmas a gap looms large between what I know I believe and what I experience. I know Christmas means God became man. He became Light because we are spiritually blind. He became poor because we are spiritually poor. He became self-giving because we are spiritually selfish. Jesus came to see “God and sinners reconciled.” But why doesn’t Christmas produce the joy and wonder I know I should feel? Instead, I’m left feeling bereaved, guilt-ridden by my lack of joy and exhausted by my extended efforts to make Christmas something special. What is wrong with me? Have I become a cynic? Am I alone? Do others feel the same way I sometimes do—like a fraud? Has the Christmas season become disconnected?
This Advent season I’m speaking to my fellow frauds, fakers, and cynics. I’m speaking to those who feel the ‘gap’ between what they confess and what they feel at Christmas. How do we connect the grand promises of Christmas with the gritty reality of our daily lives? The answer is Christmas, but here are the questions:
- Why trust God with my future?
- How do I know God cares about me?
- How do I confront the inner cynic?
- What is left for me to do?
My hope is that over these 4 weeks you come to understand Christmas as more wonderful and more threatening than you first imagined.
Pastor Brett Hartman