For some of us, this Christmas offers few if any good stories. In fact, the holiday seems only to add stress and discouragement. You are going through a divorce, or a loved one has died, or serious illness has taken up long-term residence in your home, or you are headed into your eighth or twenty-eighth month of unemployment.
One aspect of the Bible I have always admired and appreciated is its inclusion of the hard stories. Whenever the Israelites celebrated a holiday of their faith, there were stories attached, and some of them were not happy ones. This story remembered crippling slavery in Egypt, and that one recalled the devastation of enemies taking over a beloved homeland. When we read of “heroes” in Scripture, we are visiting the stories of lies, deceit, murder, faithlessness, loss, famine, and persecution. Sometimes there is no apparent good side to the story, and other times the only redeeming feature is that the hero managed to endure his or her trials.
If this holiday season is painful and discouraging for you, try to pinpoint the hard story that lies at the core of your emotional turmoil. Take the discomfort and fear and construct a plot line. What is the main incident or situation that has led to the present difficulty? Try to identify a main character or two—name them heroes and villains if that helps.
Allow yourself to think of this hard time as a story unfolding. Trust that the story is yours to hold, to work with, and to tell.
If working with the present is too difficult, then try to remember a hard story of some past Christmas. Identify the characters and conflicts and the general plot.
How do you hold and reverence your personal stories of Christmas?
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