I love Christmas! I love Christmas carols in the air wherever I go, provided they begin after Thanksgiving. I love the cookies and candies, the hustle and bustle, the lights, and the excitement of the season.

Yet for those in the middle of a life transition, the world can seem gray, there is no color and no joy. I’ve been there, and maybe you are there today or know someone who is. Transitions aren’t bad, but until you come through it your view of the future is filled with uncertainty, causing anxiety, fear, and worry. It can be unsettling.

This could be the first Christmas following the death of someone you loved, or a marital separation coupled with the reality the marriage is ending, or you’re unemployed, or… Life feels hard. Yet those in the middle of this difficulty are often good at acting like it’s a normal Christmas, that everything is okay even though it isn’t. Real feelings are hidden, and they may miss the joy of the season and receiving the gift.

We need the gift!

Most of us aren’t good at receiving, we prefer to be the giver. We are uncomfortable if someone buys us dinner, we’ll fight to split the check or say, “next time let me buy.” We prefer being the giver because that’s the power position. Needing others makes us feel weak. I know because I’ve had those experiences myself.

The Christmas season is about receiving the greatest gift. It’s the reason to celebrate. Please don’t skip holiday parties or miss seeing friends and family. People need to see you as much as you need to see them. Let them love on you.

When in transition you may experience feeling you have no value, rejection, you are unwanted, or unloved. STOP! None of those are true. What you are going through is temporary, it isn’t forever.

There’s an old story of someone who dies. St. Peter meets them at the gate of heaven and asks for the password. They are surprised they need a password, think for a second and respond with telling St. Peter they’re a good person who loved God and others. He shakes his head and responds “nope.” They try again, telling him all the good things they’ve done in life for others, and again he responds with “nope.” In exasperation they say, “I give up!” St. Peter smiles and says, “welcome to heaven.”

That’s us, we want to believe we can earn his love, we can’t. We want to be “in control.” We aren’t. When we give up and turn to him, God does his best work. His love is unconditional and his peace is there for us to receive.

The third verse of the Christmas carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, says it all so perfectly.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.

Open your heart and let Christ enter in. Receive the gift of his peace! Celebrate the gift this Christmas season.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2: 10-12

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