Christmas Is Not ‘the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ for Everyone, But Christ Still Offers Peace
In 1963, Edward Pola and George Wyle wrote the famous Christmas song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Originally sung by Andy Williams, the song has gone on to be covered by numerous artists and remains a holiday classic and favorite of many.
Along with most Christmas songs, it highlights the cheerfulness of the season. Most assume Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and they assume it is for everyone. But the reality is, for many people, Christmas can be the most difficult time of the year.
Maybe through blissful memories Christmas was once wonderful — the seats at the table filled with loved ones, the holiday travel, or the fun Christmas activities like going to markets, ice skating, or cookie-decorating with friends. But once those things become memories, it’s much harder to relate to the joy of the season. Empty chairs, slim wallets, or lonely seasons make Christmas a time of anguish more than a time of merriment for many.
It’s important to remember that not everyone has blissful memories to recall. For some, Christmas never included the things that make it “oh so wonderful.” For those who grew up in poverty, abandonment, or abusive homes, the holidays are just another reminder of the cruelty of life. While everyone else sings carols and delights in good company, they sit in darkness, pain, or grief.
I’m sure for these people, Christmas is not the only time of the year they drown in sorrow. The unfortunate reality is that they likely are suffering for all 365 days a year. So, what is it about Christmas that intensifies these feelings? As I already mentioned, Christmas is typically full of fun activities and memories, but so can any day of the year. I believe what makes Christmas so hard for some goes far deeper than surface-level celebration. It’s more than the parties or the gifts. It’s about what the holiday signifies, namely, peace, unity, and love.
Whether you’re Christian or atheist, Christmas has universal connotations of peace, unity, and love, regardless of whether you have a biblical or secular worldview. And for those who do not experience peace, unity, or love, the very heart of the holiday pours salt in their wounds. So, really, it makes a lot of sense that Christmas is hard when it rubs the very things you long for in your face.
But I want to offer a different perspective — one that can apply to all people, particularly all believers, whether you’re hurting or not. It’s nothing groundbreaking — and certainly not original — but it is worth the reminder. And it’s the fact that Christmas isn’t really just about peace, love, and unity. It’s about Christ. Yes, this does make all the difference.
Peace, unity, or love can mean so many things when isolated and left to your own interpretation. In many regards, we often identify these things from a secular understanding. Peace is easily defined as a feeling we long for — perhaps in front of the fire with a cup of hot cocoa. Unity is easily defined as having a bunch of friends and family. Love is easily defined as having a partner to buy gifts for or a service to offer to someone in need. Surely, these are beautiful aspects of peace, unity, and love, but they fall short of being a true definition. And if we don’t recognize that, then we risk blurring a crucial distinction.
When we acknowledge that Christmas is not merely about these things but about Christ, we acknowledge that Christ is where peace, unity, and love exist. Anything detached from Christ is stripped of its value, depth, and permanence. On the other hand, anything put back in its proper view as it pertains to Christ becomes rich, immeasurably impactful, and eternal. The peace of Christ surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7), the unity of Christ breaks all barriers (Galatians 3:28), and the love of Christ is better than life (Psalms 63:3).
This makes all the difference because, if we see Christmas as a reminder of what we don’t have, then of course we are going to be miserable! But when we remember that Christmas is about Christ, then the entire Christmas season will have an inspiring effect, because when we focus on Christ as the center of this holiday, then we are constantly reminding ourselves of what we do have in Him.
Christmas, I would argue, should serve you these reminders:
- For the fatherless, Christ offers a heavenly Father (2 Corinthians 6:18).
- For the lonely, Christ offers fellowship with an eternal family through Him and His church (1 John 1:3; Revelation 21:3).
- For the brokenhearted, Christ binds and heals your wounds. He offers a way through the storm and, one day, a paradise where death, tears, and pain will be no more (Revelation 21:4).
- For the angry, Christ offers peace (John 14:27).
- For the grieving, Christ offers joy and hope (Romans 15:13).
You know what? This list, if I kept going, would never end! Christ offers us everything we could ever need, and even more so. He is life, and life abundant. He is love and goodness. Jesus Christ, as Christmas reminds us, came to earth as a baby to live a sinless life so that He could die for our sins. And by His wounds, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
For the unbeliever, if you are hurting, I don’t have an easy solution for you this Christmas. But I do know what Jesus Christ offers us. Repentance and belief lead to eternal life with God almighty through the blood of His Son, which He shed so we — so that you — can have a relationship with Him.
But for the believer, know that Christ is not a band aid to cover your gunshot wounds. He is the cure. Yes, scars may remain, but He has promised great things for those who put their faith in Him. Or, as Romans 8:18 states, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
And Christmas, beloved, should be a reminder of that. I pray it is a comfort for you this holiday season, and all your days, even amid your pain.
Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.