A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. Luk 2:11
I don’t know whether there will be christmas this year. At least for me.
One year ago, December 18, 2013, my mom took her life. Aided by some organisation that has the audacity to call suicide an act of mercy. One year later, my mom is stealing christmas from me.
On the anniversary of her death, I was haunted by bad thoughts all night. Suicidal thoughts. Thoughts about giving up at least of what I am doing at the moment. But it was not before going to workout in the gym that I realised what was happening—when I filled in the date in the workout sheet.
Since I had become a Christian, my mom had questioned my decision. Not that she did not believe that I believed, but she was disappointed that a bright man like me could fall for such a stupid, manipulating children story, constructed to control people. She had joined churches several times in her life, and left them disappointed for various reasons—the most prominent: she expected from men what only God can give.
Thus, in this night I heard her repeating all those words to me: what purpose does it have? It will never pan out. Nothing is going to change, and you might as well quit.
This end of year marks a time of great change for me. Our youngest son just moved out, leaving my wife and me just being the two of us in a rather big house. We had planned for this just about 18 months ago, but our youngest moved back in again. But now he left, and we do not expect anybody else to move back in. I hope. And yet, it ain’t easy.
Two years ago, I decided, under the counsel and with the agreement of the people that speak into my life, to quit my job and build a living as freelancer and writer, investing myself more into the church as well. During the last few months I had to realise that this just would not work. Neither my temper—I am not a salesman to acquire business—nor the time—too little work for freelancers in Switzerland—allow for it.
This blog did not explode. I tripled my hits from last year, but by this time I had hoped to have those hit numbers on a daily basis, or at least weekly. And it has shown to be very hard to write the book I have in the working, as it is a very emotional topic.
To make a long story short, I have to face the fact that I have to go back into a day-job situation. I have to take up programming again. And still, after all these years in faith—30 in two months, to be exact—I am not where I want to be nor where God called me to be. And do not cite David or Paul to me. David waited for 13 years to become king. Paul was in the desert before Barnabas got him for 10-13 years. Even Abraham begot his son after 25 years of waiting.
Into all this, this voice of my mom broke in: it will never change. Why not quit. Just give in and give up.
Furthermore, right during christmas season. A season of laughter, company, gifts, joy. A season to rejoice together. But the last I want to do at the moment is face other people, be an example, put on a happy face.
But did christmas not happen exactly for those kinds of situations?
God did not break into this world because we had such a great time down here and he wanted to join the party. He did not feel left out, excluded, even expelled. He did not want to join us, he wanted us to join him. He wanted to bring life—may I call it the heavenly party—to earth for us to join in again.
Experiencing christmas is less about being joyful and all cheery. Don’t get me wrong, if this is were you’re at, I rejoice with you. Enjoy, savour, glory in it.
But the real experience of christmas is the one when you feel downtrodden, left alone—and as much as you want to be alone, you still don’t feel happy in it—and sad, even betrayed.
Jesus said, when accused of eating with sinners, that he came for the ones that needed the doctor, not the healthy.
I’m not going to find Jesus underneath the christmas tree, nor will he be wrapped in any gift. But I will find him exactly because of christmas. If he had not come, he could not have died for me. If he had not died for me, there would be no reason not to give in to those voices and give up. Why live if there is no God that loves me? No God that wants me to have a relationship with him? If all this is about is living my 70 to 80 years and wither away?
But there is christmas. God broke into our world and brought an end to it. See, all things are new. There is hope, faith, and love. His love makes it possible. His birth brings hope. And in his death and resurrection we gain faith.
Maybe there is going to be a christmas this year anyway.
For you too?