Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas cheer or Christmas sorrow

Below is an excerpt of a Christmas letter from Mark Gregston from Heartlight Ministries.  His ministry is to teens in severe trouble.  Thought it really brought up some significant issues to consider during the holidays.

My tendency has been to open past Christmas letters with “Merry Christmas!”, “Happy New Year!”, “May the joy of Christmas, "Glad tidings,” “Let’s all be jolly,” or “May peace surround you and yours.” These are great words of encouragement, but hardly what the parents I rub shoulders with are feeling during the Christmas season.

Most are going through a tough time, are experiencing a great sense of loss, or are at “wits end” to know what to do as they see their family struggle through difficulties with their children. As they reflect on their year, sadness fills their emotions and it is not going to be a Christmas that they hoped it would be. A mother told me last week the two words that describe her year are “sorrow” and “suffering.” That’s the world of people that I am involved with.

It’s ironic to me that Christmas and its message of hope is celebrated at a time of the year when many people least feel it. Oswald Chambers wrote that sorrow has an amazing way of burning up "shallowness.” So, my prayer for you is that any sorrow you've experienced this year will move you to a deeper understanding of the One we celebrate, and that your hope would lie in His promises.

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