Family and good friends. Jingle bells. Chestnuts roasting. White Christmas. Santa Claus and reindeers. Presents under the tree. All these and more give us the feeling of Christmas. What if we don’t have these feelings? Then what? What if we don’t even have family and friends to share with?
There is a void in each person that only God can fill. As a society, we love things money can buy to fill this void. Christmastime is a good excuse to buy for ourselves and for others. I admit there are some material things that I like too, e.g., nice watches, boy-toys, guy gadgets, etc. We love to have things, nice-to-have-cool things. Truth is… there is a sense of emptiness in all of this consumerism. When our “gas tank” is running low, it’s easy to fill our lives with substitutes. We know that substitutes can also be harmful to ourselves and even to others. If you’ve ever been there, you’d know what I’m talking about.
Christmastime can be an excuse to fill our lives with some of these things to forget our troubles, or forget our loneliness. Sometimes, we try to satisfy our need for happiness using money, material things, sex, drugs and the latest highs. But no matter how much we may try to obtain happiness or distance ourselves from our sadness, the void can never be filled without God’s presence. There is a need in us that can only be filled with God’s love, peace and joy. It’s our real hope for the future.
What God offers to gift us with God’s presence and His love, joy and peace. Christmastime is meaningful when we celebrate our Lord Jesus because we know how much Christ means to us when we have personally experience God’s peace. What Jesus has given us is lasting because God is eternal.
When trials come, the joy of Christ does not fade, even in the midst of our unhappiness, or even our poverty. When you’ve experience suffering but have Christ walking with you, you will know that this inner peace is real. When the pressures of this life and the weight of this world get heavy, and the inner joy from Jesus remains when nothing else remains, you will know that love of God is authentic.
In this season, may we be a blessing to others through giving, but more important is that we be receptive to God’s spiritual blessings. St. Paul the Apostle said in Romans 15:13,
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
In good times or in difficult circumstances, the hope, peace, joy, and love that God gives will remain. That’s a promise from God–the best Christmas present we can receive. Merry Christmas!