Q. I hate Christmas. It all seems meaningless. We’re encouraged to spend beyond what we can afford, eat more than we should and visit relatives we could do without. Even the religious part seems like bunk to me. Faith sure hasn’t helped me with my life. I’ve had to struggle to make a living, but I’ve done it on my own. My wife says I’m angry with God. What do you think?
A. Christmas has lost its meaning for many people. For some of us the
Holiday season heightens our focus on material gain and we spend too
much. We are too busy during the holidays and we eat too much. We visit friends
and family out of a sense of duty and these get togethers fail to touch our
However, your basic question goes deeper than this. You seem to be finding no meaning or purpose in life; no faith in a higher purpose or power. I understand that life is difficult and complex. Everyone faces problems and heartache. Without faith in God, life can seem empty and Christmas will seem meaningless.
Many of us turn away from the spiritual dimensions of Christmas because of hurt or anger. Most of us have days or periods in our life when we doubt the beliefs we’ve previously held dear. We feel disillusioned and let down by life. When our anger or disillusionment is chronic we shut our hearts to the wonder, beauty, love and joy of the season. We shut faith, hope and love out.
Negative emotions prevent us from enjoying life. Often we blame other people or even God for things we have brought on ourselves. We wonder why we have no friends yet we are not friendly toward others. We wonder why our marriage is unhappy yet we put little effort into making our partner happy.
We also feel hurt and anger because of things others have done to us but we fail to notice when we ourselves hurt others. Often we’re angry because of the suffering we go through or because life seems unfair. No one knows why God allows suffering in this world. We do know that suffering often teaches us lessons and the suffering of others prompts us to give help.
Our anger and pessimism can be a declaration of independence. In effect we’re saying we don’t need anyone - not even God. And so we shut our hearts and our souls and refuse to give, refuse to love.
We think that in this way we remain in control. We suppress our longings, our loneliness, and we deny our vulnerability and our inner pain. Actually, in this world no one can live independent of others and no one is in control except God.
Open your Bible and read about the first Christmas. (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-12) This is a true, historical report about God coming to the world in the form of a baby born to a virgin. This baby grew up, taught his followers to love God and each other, healed the sick, performed miracles, said he was God, said he had to die for us, died on a cross, was buried in a tomb, arose three days later, was seen by 500 people, met with his disciples many times over a period of 40 days, then said he had to leave. They witnessed him rising up to heaven. Many eyewitnesses and historians attest to these facts. He is the only true God of the universe.
You won’t find joy in Christmas until you believe this. Joy over gifts and food and family visits can’t compare to the joy of knowing God and knowing he came to earth to save us and he lives and will return. If you want to love Christmas instead of hating the “Holidays” you will need to change, to open your heart, ask for forgiveness and forgive those who have hurt you. Focus on the truth of the gospel.
Seek Christ through prayer, reading Scripture, and returning to your church. If you want help with this ask to talk with your pastor. When we open our hearts even a little, God will join us and lift our spirits - especially at this holy time of year. I pray you will have a Holy Christmas!
The angel said, "Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10