When Christmas hurts
Christmas is rightly a joyful celebration – a time we commemorate the birth of Jesus, God made tiny baby boy, the long-awaited Messiah come to redeem all creation. There are sparkly lights, festive feasts, gatherings of family and friends and gift exchanges. It is all very cheery and jolly, at least on the surface.
The weighty expectation that we will all be merry at Christmas can make the suffering of the bereaved, the lonely, the sick, the debt-burdened, and the depressed all the more acute. There is no time of year when sadness stands in great relief to the prevailing mood. And yet the church is, as Paul so vividly described it in Romans 12, a body; a body where every part matters, where the well-being or lack thereof of each part impacts on the whole.
This year, CPO has created a poster designed to help us acknowledge that for many this is the most painful of times. The tree is unadorned, the colours stark, and we have left large margins on which names, prayers and laments can be written. You might want to hold a special service for those in your community who find this time of year particularly hard, or you could simply put up this poster somewhere in your church and encourage people to use it as a prompt to remember suffering loved ones.
Our hope is that this poster might serve as a visual reminder that we know Christmas hurts for some of us, that we carry the hurting in our hearts and in our prayers, and that even as we celebrate the coming of The Light, the world still has its dark corners.