Guest post by Amanda in France
“Christmas is not only, and maybe not even especially, for the happy, the cheerful, or the lucky. Christmas is most of all for those who know, deeply, that we dwell in darkness and still look for the light we hope will come. We dress our children up, coax smiles out of reluctant teens (well, we try), and we tell the happiest possible story of our lives, not because we are naïve or blind to the truth of our lives in the lone and dreary world, but because we choose, sometimes with great effort, to believe the promise that our blighted world can yet be redeemed, that the far-off glimpses of beauty that pierce us with longing are truer and more powerful than the despair and cynicism that tempt us on every side.
“It is impossible, really, what God asks of us at Christmas. The weight of evidence is so abundantly on the side of darkness and ugliness and ruin. We see, with prophets and poets, that we cannot change the world, that our work is likely to come to naught, that “the glory of man [is] as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away (1 Peter 1:24).
“God knows this. He knows that we know it. And yet He asks, commands us to believe the impossible –virgin birth, new stars, nights bright as day, angels talking to shepherds, heaven touching earth. And not just to believe it, but to enact over and over, to tell each other the story again and again…year after year, despite everything. He asks us to learn the desperate patience of hope.”
-Kristine Haglund, “Cards, Weltschmerz, and Heimweh” from Candy Canes and Christmastime by Linda Hoffman Kimball, 2014
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