Holiday can bring feelings of pain too

Published 10:41 pm Monday, December 17, 2012

A year ago to the date, my family and I found ourselves at Children’s Hospital. It would turn out to be the last Christmas that we would spend with the angel that God had placed in our lives, Jalaila Joi.

Even though it was Christmas, it did not change the situation in which we found ourselves. What child, parent, sibling, or friend wants to be in the hospital when it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year?

Surely, during this time of the year we shouldn’t have to experience pain. We should experience joy and peace. Often when we consider the birth of Christ, we rarely think about the pain that came along with it. Everyone who was involved in the first Christmas experienced some kind of pain.

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Think about it; Mary endured the pain from months of ostracism and gossip. Whoever heard of a pregnant virgin? Imagine the voices of ridicule as she walked through the town. Surely it did not make her feel a part of the community. To make matters worse, her fiancée was thinking about calling off the wedding because of what people were saying. But no one ever considered the pain that Joseph endured. He had pains of doubt concerning Mary’s pregnancy. Along with that came the humiliation of being unable to provide a suitable place for his wife to give birth.

Don’t forget those shepherds who traveled many miles to visit the child that was born and the Son that was given. They had no social or financial standing. These shepherds remind us that for some Christmas is a lonely and difficult time. For many of us Christmas reminds us of our unstable financial situation because we cannot afford to buy our loved ones the gifts we desire for them.

Of course it would not be Christmas without a lot of travel. The wise men traveled for months to see Jesus and then returned home after a physically exhausting and dangerous trip. This week millions will travel hundreds even thousands of miles while enduring the agony of flight delays, inclement weather, and bruising hours driving through heavy traffic.

Now imagine the pain that God must have felt knowing that Jesus was being birthed into a world that would hate Him and that would eventually nail Him to a cross.

When I think about God’s pain, it puts all our pain into perspective. Yes, we all experience legitimate pain. Rather it is pain of limited finances, isolation, or separation, God understands all of them. That is why when Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men encountered Jesus, all of their pain was eradicated.

Christmas not only reminds us of the pain that we may have in our lives, but it also gives us hope that God wants be with us even in our pain. He loves us that much.