It is reported that Christmas time, next only to Valentines Day, registers the highest number of suicides and suicide attempts worldwide.
It is ironic considering that Christmas is supposed to be a time for gift-giving, merry-making, rekindling friendships, re-establishing family ties and breakthrough reconciliations. But no. Despair seems to always manage to rear its ugly head in the midst of all the revelry. Consider the following…
The poor widow gazes sadly at the happy family seated at the front row of the church as memories of what she no longer has eclipses what she still has left…
The aging single lady politely begs off from a high school reunion making the flimsy excuse of some “prior commitment” in order to avoid an event filled with married classmates that will serve to highlight only what she sadly missed out in life…
The lowly overseas worker manages to save up some cash to go online at some dimly-lit internet cafe in order to cyber chat with his family back home. But their images on the monitor screen only serve to emasculate the inescapable loneliness of his situation…
This is one word that escapes many people this season. It is in this season when the yearning for meaning in life escalates dramatically. People long to find meaning in their loneliness, for their suffering and in the midst their pain.
While I commiserate with the plight of so many, I am not surprised at this reality at all.
You see, modern society has found a way to take Christ out of Christmas. Shopping malls has more Santa figurines than the baby on a manger. People hum to the tune of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” more than “Emmanuel”. Parks are filled with electric lights that flicker and eventually die rather than the Light of the World who never dies.
And this is where the tragedy really lies.
When you want joy without the source of true joy, you end up frustrated. When you want love without connecting with the purest kind of love, you end up desperate. When you want peace without accepting the kind of peace that the world could never offer, you end up more disturbed.
No wonder sometimes we can’t find meaning in our pain, in our work, and in our relationships.
Only when Christ is in Christmas will Christmas truly make sense. Without Him, our happiness will be fleeting and our suffering devoid of meaning.
That is why there is Advent prior to Christmas. Advent means “preparation”.
You don’t rush into the joy without first preparing for the source of joy. You don’t expect fulfillment without first preparing for the reason of fulfillment. You don’t expect a gift without first preparing for the arrival of the giver.
In a sense, Advent is there in order to give meaning to Christmas. If you want to avoid the traps laid out by the devil this season, don’t take a short cut. Take the longer but correct route. And believe me, despair will not even find a space in your heart.
Find meaning in your situation this season by first finding the true meaning of Advent.
There is simply no other way to a joy-filled Christmas but only through a meaningful Advent!
A blessed first Sunday of Advent to us all!
Waiting eagerly for my Savior,