December 25, 2015

I love Christmas and I am so thankful for the birth of Christ. But Christmas is painful for many people for lots of different reasons. Here are 5 of the most common struggles:

1. Christmas is culturally a time when families gather. But it is an in-your-face reminder for people who have no family or who are estranged from their family. For these people Christmas is a monument to their loneliness.

2. Christmas is commonly a time when people exchange gifts. But nothing is tougher for people than being in a place where folks are giving gifts to each other and you have no money to buy gifts for them.

3. It’s also difficult to receive an expensive gift from someone when you don’t have the means to give a similarly priced gift in return. It can feel like they are saying “I am more blessed than you.”

4. Christmas is often a time of fond memories of those who have passed. Their absence can feel overwhelming, grieving, and sad. Being around happy people when you are sad sometimes serves to remind you how unhappy you really are.

5. The joy of Christmas is rooted in Christ. Unbelievers can feel like “religion” is being “shoved down their throats.”

So what should we do to help people who struggle in this season?

1. Be sensitive to the situations of others. There are lots of ways to say “I love you” without giving expensive gifts. Sometimes our generosity needs to find a more sensitive expression.

2. It’s tough to “weep with those who weep” at Christmas, but sometimes that is the best thing we can do for those we love. Sometimes it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

3. When the Holy Spirit is convicting someone of their need for Christ, they can blame their conviction on those around them. Don’t take it personally – it’s probably not about you at all.

4. Loving people right where they are at is always the right thing to do at Christmas. Christ-for-the-masses – that’s what Christmas is all about. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing…JESUS…it’s all about JESUS!

Let’s make it our goal that today would be a Merry Christmas for everyone we touch.

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