Invisible People at Christmas!

It is the season to be Stressed Out! No, it’s not supposed to be but life happens. The media, marketing, history and tradition tell us this time of the year is supposed to be happy, joyous and trouble free, but that’s not reality for many people. Life is going so fast for most of us that we blow right past those who are hurting; they feel invisible for a good reason…for most of us they are. I wanted to take a moment to slow down and recognize those who are Merry might not be so bright and let you know that you are not invisible!

The things that keep a person from enjoying this time of the year are perhaps endless. Finances, a broken relationship, lost a job, a military loved one who is deployed, sickness in the family or memories of a lost loved one. The list goes on and on. We all have hurt and pain, but how can we get through a season like this where everyone is expecting us to be on top of our “joyous-game?” Should you put on a front just for the sake of making others happy?

Here are a few heartfelt ideas that I hope will help you get through the season with some joy in the midst of whatever is heavy on your heart. Take these as ideas only, not absolute answers to your troubles. My prayer is that something here will allow you to discover a way to find a reason to smile.

See Past the Hype

Look past what media is saying Christmas should look like. Everyone is not sitting around the piano singing Christmas carols in their house. Ladies, everyone is not a size 0 in their little elf suit waiting on their husband to come home with Christmas dinner on the table and everyone is not buying new cars for Christmas. Wii is not going to get you in shape Mister; it’ll still take getting your rear off the couch and exercising! Buying a new diamond ring on MasterCard is not going to resolve all of your marital woes, but it will be sure to add to them when the bill rolls around.

Those images are not reality. These are pictures that marketing experts want to convey life would be like if you bought their products. Trust me, if their product brought that much happiness the company wouldn’t have to spend so much money on advertising! It would sell itself!

The best thing to do is not watch or at least ignore what the marketing people are trying to convince us brings happiness. If you have a DVR I would recommend fast forwarding through all the commercials and definitely do that for your kids when they are watching his or her favorite kid shows. They don’t call them “Marketing Experts” for nothing. They know what pulls at your heartstring and your purse string; they are good at what they do. But their magic doesn’t work if you and I are not looking at the show. They haven’t figured out how to overcome that one yet!

Live Guilt Free

Your hurt is real. Whatever the situation, this is your life and it doesn’t matter what others say, this is your pain and there is no need to feel guilty because you’re not bouncing off the walls with joy. Don’t be angry at the world and become bitter, but don’t let them suck you into believing there is something wrong with you either.

All of us hurt, everyone has those things we don’t want others to know that makes us cry at night. You are not wrong for hurting. You are human so don’t try to pretend you aren’t  just to live up to someone else’s expectations.

Have your Own Kind of Merry

Find what makes “your” Christmas a joyous time of the year. Live in the pleasant memories of your lost loved one’s life; find joy in the fact the rest of your life is a book of blank pages and you are the author. Perhaps you can’t give gifts this year because finances are tight or even non-existent, but you can give time. It doesn’t cost to serve food or hand out gifts at a homeless shelter or to go visit a retirement home.

Look at what you CAN do; not on what you can’t. Focusing on the positive always creates more positive. Do something small and before you know it big things are happening. Create your own Merry Christmas and your days will truly be bright.

Understand the Real Meaning of Christmas

If we were to peel back the layers of history and look at the real meaning of Christmas there is something interesting that a lot of people don’t know. Christmas is about hurting people. Yep…Christmas is about NOT feeling joy.

Truth is if there wasn’t hurting people there wouldn’t be a Christmas. Today we celebrate a child which is sweet, innocent and loving. That makes for a great postcard; however what we often fail to realize is this child was sent to bring hope to the hurting people of the world. He was to provide a way through the craziness of life that would give meaning and purpose, when people didn’t seem to have either.

This baby boy would grow up to have troubles, sorrows and disappointments of his own. He would be betrayed by those who were closest to him, would lose friends in death and even experienced hopelessness so great that he screamed out at his father, asking why he had left him to go through such misery.

Christmas is about that baby becoming a man and experiencing the reality of life, yet overcoming everything that was put in his path. It’s not a story about people who lived in palaces, lived perfect lives and never went without. Quite the contrary Christmas is about real people, living in real pain with real needs.

When the little baby that we see in the many manger scenes each Christmas became a man he wrote these words, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” He wanted each of us to know that he realized life wasn’t perfect and that hurt was real. But more than that, he wants you and me to know…WE ARE NOT INVISIBLE! He sees our pain, our hurt, our disappointments, and our confusion.

So as you go through the next few weeks of the Christmas celebration season, each time you look at a manger scene remember that someone loves you and cares. He knows firsthand what you are going through because he has been there and is there to walk you through whatever is weighing you down. All you have to do is ask him to walk with you, he will do the rest. If you want to know the true gift of Christmas pick up a Bible and read in the book of Mark chapters 15 & 16 (and please pick up a Bible you can understand like NIV version). You’ll see here where the gift of Christmas was actually delivered.

Have a Merry Christmas and always remember Jesus is the reason for the season.

 

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