Growing up in Florida, there has been much for me to learn as I have raised my kids in the Midwest. One of those things is sledding. All of my early sledding education came from Christmas cards. Boy, it sure looked like fun! I yearned to zoom down the hill spraying glistening snow flakes as I went. However, my youthful years in Jacksonville, Florida provided little in the way of snow.
Finally, my first winter in St Louis, I took my 7 and 3 year old on their first sledding trip. Having bought the slickest sleds the Walmart could provide, I bundled up my bundles of joy and headed to the neighborhood hill. The top of the hill was by the street so with my toddler in my lap and my son in the sled beside me, we sped off down the hill. It was everything I could possibly imagine! Until… at the bottom of the hill, I turned around and realized what the Christmas Cards never explained. That to go sledding again, I had to not only climb up the hill myself but I had to haul my 3 year old and the sled along with me. Suddenly, sledding did not look like as much fun as the Christmas cards made it seem. As I staggered up the hill, all the anticipation from moments before slowly drained out of my tired legs.
Christmas can be a time of great anticipation. Some years, it’s easy to look forward to connecting with friends and family as a way of celebrating. But other years you just want Christmas to be over before it starts. Maybe you’ve had a year of illness, job loss, financial struggle or grief. Or maybe it’s marital problems, parenting problems or kid problems that makes each day of the holidays feel a little darker, a little heavier. With all your struggles, New Years can not come soon enough.
You may have had lots of Christmas’ as a believer but a Christmas filled with struggles can make your faith in Christ’s ability to carry you through wane. Maybe seeking the Christ child feels like too much work. It’s like me, standing at the bottom of that sled hill wondering “Is it worth the climb? Is it worth getting my hopes up that maybe, just maybe the next sled ride will be worth the trek?”
The truth is, the bigger your struggles are this Christmas, the more you need to reach out to Jesus. He’s there, ready to carry you through your burdens. After all, that’s why He came. Listen to Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.” Jesus, the Christ Child, was born and given to you so that no struggle and no hill are too big for Him to carry you through. Don’t use Christmas as a reason to seek Jesus less. Let the promises of Christmas urge you to seek Him more.