Beautiful homes full of laughter, crystal glasses filled with wine and warm kitchens stuffed with good food. A devoted daughter, a wonderful father, a loving wife. These are the images associated with the Christmas season. The stories introduced by the commercials and ads. I see another story. In fact I see many stories playing out and they don’t mirror the ads.
- She is involved with another man, but doesn’t want to lose her husband.
- His wife of fifty-seven years has no recognition in her eyes.
- It’s only her fifth Christmas and her mom is spending it in rehab.
- Their new marriage isn’t the honeymoon they thought it would be.
- Her scars are a reminder that both her husband and young son died in the accident.
- At twenty-nine, she finds herself alone at Christmas.
- They fear their daughter has become a prostitute.
- Her husband swears the meth pipe isn’t his.
- With both unemployed, the January mortgage payment probably won’t happen.
These are the stories of Christmas. Brutal reminders that things aren’t the way they should be, even when we cover them with beautiful lights. You can look away. You can pretend these stories aren’t real. I wouldn’t blame you. But to deny the brokenness is to deny the purpose for Christmas.
Jesus was not born to make us beautiful. He was born to make us whole. Unless we are willing to confront our own brokenness, this mess we call life, we will never acknowledge that we desperately need to be reclaimed. The prophet Isaiah, speaking for the coming Messiah, said, “The Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners.”
We are the captives, prisoners to our passions. If you are honest, you might admit you could be numbered among the brokenhearted. He came for you. The greater story of Christmas wraps itself around all these stories, around your story. In the midst of the mess, instead of presents He brings you His presence. He will walk with you, hold you, and redeem you. That’s a Christmas story worth telling.