“Is that all there is?”

How was your Christmas? Did you finish the day fulfilled? Were all your longings met? Were you happy the entire time? Can you look back and say, yes, I wasn’t a bit disappointed?

Me neither.

I’m sure you’ve seen the classic cartoon of the kids surrounded by shredded wrapping paper, boxes, and piles of new toys. Amidst all that plenty, they’re asking, “Is that all there is?” Christmas comes with so much hype, of course we feel a bit let down afterward. How can a single day (or two, depending on how you celebrate) meet all our expectations?

In my post last week I asked a few questions: Is Christmas something we buy? Is it something we create? Is it found at church? What is the true meaning of Christmas?

With songs telling us “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” and “’tis the season to be jolly,” we feel pressured to comply. It’s not all right to be sad at Christmas time. And that’s just the beginning. We feel compelled to add all the trimmings—the food, music, gifts, decorations, visits, and on and on. Even the weather is supposed to cooperate.

Then, real life intrudes. We get sick, or we can’t be with family, or a loved one is no longer with us. We can’t afford to buy gifts or expensive holiday feasts. Maybe a relationship is in a mess, or we hate our job (or we have to work Christmas Day). We live in a broken world, and just because it’s Christmas doesn’t make everything all right.

Or does it?

Maybe that is exactly what Christmas is all about. If our world was perfect, we wouldn’t need a savior.

Christmas celebrates God coming into our broken world as a baby—to show us how very, very much He loves us. A baby coming to prove that God isn’t satisfied with pain and loss, a baby showing us the Father, then dying so we can boldly come into His presence.

Christmas reminds us that we aren’t in this mess all alone. We celebrate the coming of Immanuel—God with us.

And one day, perhaps someday soon, He will come back to make everything perfect.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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