Tis the season to be merry and bright, but often there are those who find this season to be sad and dreary.  This reality came home to me when I was 21 years old and my Mother had been in Heaven for almost four years.  Earlier in the year my Dad remarried and they had decided to enjoy Christmas with her family in Colorado rather than Oklahoma. I was serving as a Youth Minister in Arkansas, so it was impossible for me to make the trip with them. When Christmas morning came, I remember sitting in my quiet apartment, alone and very sad. I missed my Mother, as well as all the rest of my family. I learned then that Christmas isn’t defined by presents but rather the presence of family and friends.

Christmas is the most relational holiday of the year. So, it is only fitting that if you have lost a spouse, child, family member or friend that you usually spend Christmas with that you would feel sad at Christmas. Parents who aren’t able to spend Christmas with children or grandchildren because of distance most assuredly grieve. In fact, anyone who has experienced a broken relationship like a divorce, wayward child or death can find this season to be dreary and sad.

The first Christmas morning may have had its own share of sadness in the midst of its joyous occasion. Have you ever wondered like me, that if Joseph’s whole family had to go to Bethlehem, why he didn’t have a place to stay? Why couldn’t he stay with his parents, an aunt, uncle, cousin or any other family member for that matter?

Which family member wouldn’t give up their room for Mary to give birth rather than sending them to a stable? I wonder if the fact that she was pregnant before the wedding might have had something to do with the absence of any mention of family, especially since we know the whole clan was there.

While I am left to ponder why there is no mention of additional family at Joseph and Mary’s side that morning, I have no doubt the whole event was centered around “broken relationships.” God the Father grieved the broken relationship that sin had brought to his creation. That day carried the joy and hope of the potential reconciliation of Man to Him, The Father. It also, carried the sorrow of Jesus’ suffering and the knowledge that many would reject his offer of reconciliation.

Christmas is a season which reminds us that happiness is found only through relationships and “true” happiness is only found in a relationship with The Father through Jesus Christ. So, clearly, happiness this Christmas can only really be found by those who experience it with the presence of Christ and thus have a right relationship with The Father.

If your heart is heavy this Christmas season or you feel all alone, let me encourage you to not focus on the things you can’t change but rather focus on Jesus who loves you so much that He would suffer and die just to have a relationship with you. Remember, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.

Today, if you don’t have that relationship with The Father through Jesus Christ, let me encourage you to call out to Him through prayer. A prayer of reconciliation may sound something like this: Dear God, I know that I’m a sinner and that I have a broken relationship with You because of my sin. I’m asking You now to forgive me of my sin, and I accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for reconciling my relationship with You.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Today, if you prayed a prayer of reconciliation, please visit the web site, mostimportantthing.com and learn more about this relationship you just entered in to. May we all have a happy and bright Christmas in the presence of Jesus!