Disappointment is unwrapping a package of underwear on Christmas morning. At least when you’re a kid. When you’re a grown up, disappointment becomes intangible, harder to trace to its source, more like a hollow, reverberating thud. And Christmastime, with all of its twinkle and shine, can make the untraceable emptiness worse because maybe your life does not resemble the front of a Christmas card. Maybe watching George and Mary Bailey and their pixie-faced children prompts you to chuck candy canes at the TV screen because maybe it turned out to be a Wonderful Life for them, but it certainly isn’t turning out that way for you.
Perhaps this is your first or second or fifth 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 can’t share with carolers or bell ringers or even friends.
But it’s the holidays. So you smile and call Merry Christmas and slide a couple of quarters into the kettle even as your insides crumple into a ball, like a wad of used of wrapping paper.
This is not a post about answers. Those in the pit don’t crave answers, they crave acknowledgement. They crave comfort. Joy may trail later, much later, but comfort most come first, both in song and action and offering. Before anything they yearn for someone to say, “Yes I see you down in the pit.” They need to be seen before they can be rescued.
So I hope this reads as comfort, not encouragement: Jesus is close to the broken hearted. He is close. To the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18)
If you’re heart is breaking, if spelling out the word DISAPPOINTMENT in socking hangers seems more feeting then lining your mantle with PEACE, 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….