I tend to feel depressed the closer we get to Christmas. It’s as if there’s no longer any meaning in my spirit attached to this special day, yet I know there is supposed to be. It’s worse if we don’t gather with relatives or friends. The loneliness exacerbates the despondency.
Can you identify with either remark?
I can. That’s because I wrote both statements in my journal years ago as Christmas approached. But more recently, there’s a particular insight I “preach to myself” each December that assuages the angst. I’m not saying this perspective eliminates all emotional difficulty, but the reminder definitely improves my attitude each year.
I tell myself that the meaning of Christmas doesn’t depend one iota on my feelings or personal experience.
Whether or not I feel the religious significance of Jesus’ birth or that elusive “Christmas spirit” isn’t what matters. What matters is truth: God the Son came to earth, and for the first time in all eternity the divine put on human skin. Jesus was “born to die” for my sins. The Incarnation we celebrate at Christmas is my only hope for overcoming sin and for a joy-filled life after the grave. And in my next life, my worship won’t be hindered by inconsistent emotions or self-centeredness. I’ll join with other believers in a raucous celebration, and bow before my King without any despair whatsoever.
The meaning of Christmas is not an inner state or attitude. It doesn’t originate within me. It is objective reality rooted in historical fact: the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
The meaning of Christmas doesn’t depend on me. The meaning of Christmas…..just is.