This time of year, the world is alive with Christmas lights and decorations. But for people going through dark times, the Christmas season may not seem very merry or bright. If Christmas is hard for you this year, I want you to know that you’re not alone. The very first Christmas was also difficult for a lot of people.
Like Mary, Jesus’ mother. She’s often portrayed as an adult woman who was ready to begin a family. In reality, she was young, unmarried, and became pregnant under scandalous conditions. She may have also faced ridicule for her story about an angel telling her that her baby was conceived by the power of God. And Jesus’ birth itself was in an environment better suited for peasants and farm animals than a king.
Then there was the terrible event known as the “Massacre of the Innocents.” The Roman ruler at the time of Jesus’ birth was King Herod. When he heard a Jewish prophecy that a king had been born, he felt threatened and ordered the death of every male child in the region near Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16-18).
A lot of people that first Christmas had plenty of reason to lose hope and to question God’s faithfulness. But it was into those difficult circumstances that Jesus was born.
If you’re struggling this Christmas, take heart. There is reason to hope. The first Christmas wasn’t about hot cocoa and mistletoe. It was about the Son of God entering into our pain and struggle to bring hope and redemption to all of us.