comfort and joy

Christmas bells

I love Christmas music. I have Christmas music on high rotation in my car and my house from early November. I love the old tunes, the traditional carols. But I also love the new songs, where this season inspires artists to focus on uplifting positive ideas.

From my time of growing up in the UK there are a number of old favourites that don’t seem to get much of a look-in here. “The Holly and the Ivy”, and “In the Bleak Mid-winter” are two that jump out at me straight away, for obvious reasons! But I love all those songs to, even if it isn’t snowing outside and there is no sleigh, or holly and ivy to be seen. And these discrepancies don’t bother me, I just enjoy the atmosphere.

But some days, no matter how much I love Christmas the words just don’t ring true. “Tis the season to be jolly …”

Is it?


Because I know some people who are going through some pain, right now. I know some people who are struggling emotionally, physically, financially, mentally. I know some people who have had the hardest year of their life, their “annus horribilis” (Thank you for gifting us with a term that sums it up, Your Majesty!). I know for these people it is very hard to be ‘jolly’ right now.

The reality for these people is pain, an uncertain future, broken relationships and trying times ahead. So no, for them, Christmas isn’t ‘jolly’.

And my heart breaks for them, and my heart breaks with them.

And then I think of this Carol:

God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
For Jesus christ our saviour was born upon this day,
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we have gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Comfort and Joy, that’s it! That’s the answer.  That’s what my friends need. They need comfort in their trials and they need joy.

So I pray this for them, and I find, as I pray, that more often than not that I am the one who is to provide the comfort. I am the one to send the text, take the flowers, sit with someone as they cry and rant and rail. And I don’t want to feel so much, it is hard to share their pain, their heartache and their rage.

And yet … and yet … sometimes I find circumstances, where what I have been through is now another’s pain. Sometimes I am perfectly placed to understand the emotions. Sometimes I find the most beautiful sacred moments of laughter through streaming tears. Sometimes there is comfort and there is joy.


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