When you’re a kid, disappointment is unwrapping a package of underwear. When you’re a grown up, disappointment is something more profound and less tangible; a long, heavy thud in your soul. And Christmastime, with all of its twinkle and shine, can make it all worse. Perhaps your life does not resemble the front of a Christmas card. Maybe watching It’s a Wonderful Life makes you want to chuck candy cane pieces at George and Mary and their little curly-haired girl because everything turned out all right for them in the end, but it certainly isn’t for you.
Perhaps this is your first (or second, or third, or tenth) Christmas…
After the divorce
After the move
After the death of your loved one
Without a job
With your finances in a mess
With your family in turmoil
With a hidden hurt you simply can’t share with ever caroler or every bell ringer or even every friend.
But it’s the holidays so you smile and call Merry Christmas and slide a couple of quarters into the kettle while your insides vacillate between swelling with aching emptiness or shrinking into a tight ball, like a crumpled wad of wrapping paper.
We all know about the rising suicide statistics this time of year. I was going to include them here, but it was too depressing to goggle.
This is not a post about answers. Anyone who has ever been in the pit doesn’t crave answers, they crave acknowledgement. They wonder as they wander in their cloud of pain, does anyone see me?
Yes. And I hope this reads as encouragement and not a pat answer: Jesus is close to the broken hearted. He is close. To the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18)
So if you’re heart is breaking, if the word DISAPPOINTMENT could line your mantle in the form of stocking hangers know that someone sees you. This world is weary and so many of its inhabitants feel let down by life in so many ways. It’s not a very Christmasy thing to say but life is disappointing. And while you may want that ethereal thrill of hope* the old carol talks about, you might be trying to simply get through the day.
That’s okay. Even though it’s Christmas time and everyone else seems merry and bright, it’s okay if you’re not. It’s okay to have a broken heart at Christmas.
*The thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn….
(O Holy Night)