Hi. We don’t know each other. But Christmas is on the way, and I wanted to introduce myself. Then again, my name isn’t important. I’m nobody special. I just wanted you to know that I’m thinking about you. I’m even praying for you.
I know you’re going through a hard time. Someone you love died. Maybe someone you once trusted hurt you deeply. Maybe your mother is suffering. Or your children are going through a rough patch.
Your loved one died by suicide. Or maybe it was cancer. Lymphoma. Alcoholism. Heart attack. Old age. Or a car wreck.
Then again, maybe it’s you who is in distress.
Maybe the doctor gave you bad news. Maybe your life is falling apart. Maybe you’re in a godawful state. Maybe you are lying on the floor, weeping, when you accidentally picked up your phone to read this.
Please keep reading. Because you’re the person I’m writing to.
Listen, I know the whole world is happy right now. Everyone is giddy with excitement. People are getting very festive, preparing their houses for Christmas, hanging lights, installing hordes of gaudy yard art.
It’s hard to stomach all this joyousness when you yourself are stuck in agonizing pain. It’s hard to get excited about anything when your life has turned into a big pile of chicken scat.
You are disgruntled and cynical. And you’re not wrong. This is a contradictory and hypocritical time of year.
Everyone talks of love and kindness and benevolence. And yet nobody sees the invisible hurting people. Oh, sure, some folks volunteer to help the homeless and the orphans during the Christmas seasons. But for most people, all this talk of love and munificence is basically just a load of B.S.
I’m sorry, but it’s true. And you know it.
This is the time of year when TV commercials turn into ultra sentimental saccharin. Advertisers promote charity, compassion and love. And yet, you get the impression that they’re just using buzzwords intended to sell you something.
Americans are buying hordes of pricey gifts for children who already have everything they could possibly want. People in your neighborhood are decorating their houses with expensive inflatable Yodas wearing Santa hats. And it all seems like a giant lie.
What’s the freaking point of Christmas? Your mother is dying. Your father is sick. The doctor said you’ll be lucky to make it through the next year. Your son is addicted to pain pills. Your daughter has melanoma. What’s the point of getting excited? There’s nothing to get excited about.
But you’re wrong.
Because this is the time of year when, even though the deck is stacked against you, even though all hell is breaking loose in your life, even though experts tell you that you’re not going to win the battle, the universe is telling you that you’re not alone.
This is the time of year called Advent. The Latin word “adventus” means the “coming arrival.” It means something great is on its way. Something really freaking wonderful.
So forget the feckless holiday effluvia peppering your neighborhood. Forget the outdated Elizabeth Taylor fragrance commercials on television. Forget Tickle Me Elmo. Forget Cabbage Patch dolls and holiday variety shows featuring idiots with tight butts who can’t sing.
This is the time of year when all humanity has a right to get excited because God is coming.
No matter which culture or religious tradition you come from, no matter what you believe or disbelieve, the entire earth, and most people-groups and cultures agree on this holiday. Christmas.
Germany, Poland, Japan, Russia, Norway, China, Spain, Brazil, Finland, India, South Korea. Christmas is celebrated in these countries, and many more nations.
Christmas lives among whites, Blacks, Browns, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox, Pentecostals, Baptists, Agnostics, insurance salesmen, lawyers, millworkers, blue collars, white collars, Unitarians, Buddhists, sinners, saints and everyday Joes.
You think this is a coincidence? You think it’s just a big accident that all humanity agrees on the significance of one particular holiday? There are no accidents in this world.
Christmas is a time when God says to humankind, “I’m coming to hang out with you guys. So get ready.”
But the truth is, he doesn’t ONLY hang out with you at Christmas. God is with you year round. Especially when you don’t notice him.
God is with you when you take your chemo transfusion. He is with you when you’re lying on your bathroom floor, weeping because the physical pain is unbearable.
He is with you when you’re feeling like a godawful failure because you’re jonesing for a drink. He is with you when your own children refuse to visit you because your family is screwed up.
God is with you when you feel like you want to take your own life. God is with you when you are mourning for your infant daughter who died from SIDS. God is with you always, even until the end of the age.
And that is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.