Heartache at Christmas

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.”

The pages of my newspaper are full of broken people. Tragedies make lead stories.  In our personal lives we also carry grief, sorrow and lost possibilities. 

It was just for this reason Jesus came. Jesus came as Emmanuel, God with us, to be present in all the problems and complications of our lives.  In the midst of influenza, Covid, mental health breakdowns, layoffs, painful job reviews, false charges, difficult family members, cranky neighbors, illness and too early deaths . . . To all of these, Jesus came.

It was no blissful idyllic world that Jesus entered. But one where Israel’s population suffered under the weight of occupation. Crosses lined roads with hanging rebels, as a deterrent to others who would question Roman rule. Herod killed babies, he thought threatened his reign.

The Advent of Jesus was to a world of chaos and heartache, a world looking for a savior . . . A world like ours.

Isaiah says of the messiah:

Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
    my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
    he will bring forth justice to the nations.

a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a dimly burning wick he will not quench.”
    Isaiah 42:1,3a


Daily Devotions and other Christmas resources can be found at this Link – Devotions for Advent to Epiphany