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What If Heartache, Not Happiness, Invades Your Life at Christmas?

The Holiday season is often one of great joy, celebration, and happiness for many…Then, for others, Christmas can be a painful reminder of loved ones lost, a family in disarray, or one of many other heartaches…

I suffer with anxiety and depression…have for a very long time in my journey. The past several years haven’t been very joyous for many reasons: jobs consuming the holidays, severe anxiety as a constant companion, and confusion as to who I’m becoming (especially in a season where we’re supposed to be happy).

Many of you may suffer in the same way. Maybe it’s something else, like the loss of someone you loved deeply. Heartache is often magnified in seasons where you’re “supposed to feel joy”, yet you feel more isolated and lonely instead…Trust me, I get it.

As a follower of Jesus, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ – Emmanuel, God with us. We celebrate with nativities, festive songs, gift-giving, and celebrations. However, I have to wonder if God’s heart breaks every time He remembers sending His Son to this fallen world…

The reality of Jesus stepping into human flesh, living among us, and dying to redeem us had to break the very heart of God. You and I were loved so deeply that the God of the universe would take our place for our sins to bring us back to Him…Let that sink in…

Are you depressed or anxious this Christmas? It’s alright…You don’t have to feel “peachy”. I don’t think that even God is full of irrational giddiness about this time in space, either. Is He crazy in love with us? Yes. Did dying for us cost Him everything? Yes. Should we be sober-minded in this season, remembering such a sacrifice? I believe that we should…

If you’re suffering this Christmas, I hope you know that you’re not alone and that you always have hope, regardless of the feelings you may carry with you right now. Feelings don’t determine the truth. Remember that. The truth is that you are loved, you matter, and you have better things ahead.

Happiness is temporary; the joy that comes from knowing Christ is eternal.

I rarely “preach” in such a loud manner, knowing that many of you who ready my writing don’t “get Jesus”…You may not understand why I follow Him, either…Yet, this season is one that must bring the greatest reminder to the human heart. I cannot neglect to address such a matter just to speak vaguely, as to soothe everyone’s ears.

So, here is a passage from the Scriptures that was a prophecy of the coming Messiah – Jesus, Emmanuel. If you believe that the birth of Jesus was just happiness wrapped in a blanket, I hope this text sobers your heart as we step into this Holiday season.

“The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him— our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And GOD has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.

He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off— and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true.

Still, it’s what GOD had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And GOD ’s plan will deeply prosper through him. Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many ‘righteous ones,’ as he himself carries the burden of their sins. Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly— the best of everything, the highest honors— Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.” – Isaiah 53:2-12 MSG