Today’s Scripture: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Luke 2:10

Some people cannot look forward to Christmas this year. It is just too painful. They may have family members who have died during the past year. Maybe divorce has broken up their family, or their friends have moved and gone their separate ways. This leaves a void in their hearts, and it threatens to cast a dark shadow upon the season.

One evening, Mary Smith, a 93 year-old woman from our church shared her testimony. Her testimony was threaded with the pain of loss. At her age, she has seen many loved ones die, including her husband and her three older sisters. She has spent many Christmases without all of her loved ones present because so many of them are now in Heaven. Mary admitted she had many sleepless nights in the months after her husband died. But in the middle of the empty longing she felt for someone she knew she would never see again until Heaven, she opened her Bible and started reading. She said, “I don’t have a problem going back to sleep [now] because I’ve found comfort in God’s Word.”

As we think about the past year, there are many circumstances we have faced which could dampen the excitement of the Christmas season. God does not want us to try pushing the bad things which have happened to the back of our minds. He does not want us to pretend they did not happen by wearing a plastic smile. He wants us to see each situation from the perspective of His Word. It will bring us tidings of comfort and joy.

The countdown to the holiday can become especially stressful if you add the pressures of your family’s celebration to the baggage from the past. Learn to ease your burdens through the Word of God. Bury your sorrows in the Psalms, and you will come out rejoicing. Christmas is a time of celebration, and you do not have to miss out. Allow the light of God’s Word to bring cheer that will last throughout the year.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder