Christmas time is a time when many of us joyfully celebrate with loved ones, family and friends. It is a season that we look forward to. A feeling of joy and excitement fills home after home. The joy can feel so great that we can feel like sorrow and sadness simply drift away and are gone forever. The white snow that often lays silently across the ground can remind us of the peace Christ has won for the world. The cold air can awaken a type of nostalgia that fights against the winter cold with a warm smile in the heart, as we remember loved ones, family and friends. Christmas is a wondrous time of the year.
However, this is not true for everyone. For a great many folks Christmas brings about negative feelings of hurt, neglect, pain and sorrow of every flavor. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, Christmas can be a very difficult time, even a time of mourning.
Few have suffered in this life like a women named Corrie ten Boom did. She lived during the Holocaust in Germany, as a Dutch Christian. She and her family helped many Jewish people running from Nazi persecution, by hiding them in the closet. However, they were eventually discovered. She was captured and taken to a concentration camp.
One of her most famous quotes can serve us well if Christmas is difficult for us this year. She wrote:
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.”
Corrie ten Boom
As people living in a sinful and confusing world we often fall prey to the trap of worry, especially during difficult times. Christmas is no exception! Sometimes in a season when others seem so happy, the waters of sadness can be even more challenging to navigate. Corrie ten Boom knew all about having a rough Christmas, She lost her sister Betsie on December 16, 1944 while still trapped in the concentration camp. Before Betsie died she said “There is not pit so deep that God is not deeper still.” Christmas that year for Corrie came only 9 days after the passing of her sister. What a difficult Christmas it must have been.
Little did she know, however, that Betsie’s passing was the darkness before a tiny bit of dawn. As it turned out Corrie would be released only 15 days later, or 6 days after Christmas.
Fellow believers like Corrie and Betsie can serve for us like a lit road sign in the middle of life’s blizzards of pain and suffering. These believers who came before us God uses like an arrow pointing us around all the curves of life’s hurts and once again to the real reason for Christmas.
The reason Corrie’s words are so helpful is that she was a devout Christian and she got her ideas from Jesus Christ. Jesus taught in Matthew 6 “do not worry about anything…who by worrying can add a single hour to their life?” He taught clearly in that same chapter of Matthew that God will care for us, and that because we have that promise we shouldn’t seek to straighten out our lives by worrying and trying to fix things ourselves.
We all as believers have the sure and certain promise that God really does care for us. Better stated, we have Christmas! We have a Savior, a Messiah who is in Himself our sure and certain hope for release from this concentration on worrying we all live in. The man, our God, Jesus Christ, who came to the world on Christmas, He, Himself, and no other, paid the price for your sins and mistakes at His cross.
He knows that our worry traps us in so that we find ourselves not trusting Him. He forgives us for this too.
If this Christmas is a tough one for you, think about Christ’s teaching and consider Corrie ten Boom. It was only 6 days after Christmas that Corrie was released from her captors. Surely Jesus was born for the purpose of rescuing us. This Christmas no matter what our circumstances, may we recognize plainly and clearly that because of Christmas, our Savior Jesus we have hope and a way out of concentrating on worry. Jesus is alive and He wants us to hear His words today, He says in the Gospel of St. John chapter 14 “And if I go away…I will come again and I will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also…. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
May this Christmas, whether it’s full of joy or pain, lead us all to the future hope we have in Christ Jesus. His cross, resurrection and ascension into heaven is our sure and certain hope that He will come again to rescue us and take us home. In that place there will be no worry, and we will celebrate with loved ones, families and friends. There will be joy never ending and sorrow and sadness will be gone forever.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Jason K. Cody is pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church and School.