Some people can’t look forward to Christmas this year. It’s just too painful. They have family members who have died during the past year; divorce has broken up their marriage; their friends have moved or changed jobs and gone their separate ways. This leaves a void in their hearts, and it threatens to cast a dark shadow upon the season.

Mary Smith, a 93-year-old woman who gave her testimony in our church, knows much about the pain of loss. At her age, she has seen many loved ones die, including her husband and her three older sisters. She has spent many Christmases without all of her loved ones present because so many of them are now in Heaven. Mary admitted she had many sleepless nights in the months after her husband died. But in the middle of the empty longing she felt for someone she knew she would never see again until Heaven, she opened her Bible and started reading. She said, “I don’t have a problem going back to sleep [now] because I’ve found comfort in God’s Word.”

As we think about the past year, there are many circumstances we’ve faced which could dampen the excitement of the Christmas season. God doesn’t want us to try pushing the bad things which have happened to the back of our minds. He doesn’t want us to pretend they didn’t happen by wearing a plastic smile. He wants us to see each situation from the perspective of His Word. It will bring us tidings of comfort and joy.

With just over a week left before Christmas, the countdown to the holiday can become especially stressful if you add the pressures of your family’s celebration to the baggage from the past. Learn to ease your burdens through the Word of God. Bury your sorrows in the Psalms, and you will come out rejoicing. Christmas is a time of celebration, and you don’t have to miss out. Allow the light of God’s Word to bring cheer that will last throughout the year.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder