I’m not here to lay a guilt trip on you today. Christmas Day is the perfect time to enjoy family and friends. That’s what I’ll be doing, and I hope that’s what you’ll be doing. All I’m asking is that, as we think of the real meaning for this Christ Child to have made an appearance on our planet, we think beyond our tight little circle.
From where I am, here’s what I can tell you.
There’s a little boy opening gifts who wishes his incarcerated mommy could be there.
There’s a remorseful daughter wishing she hadn’t been manipulated by an angry, divorced mother, to fabricate testimony that put her dad in prison.
There’s a wife wondering whether she should hang on…her husband may never get out.
There’s a husband, trying to be dad and mom, praying for his wife’s early parole.
There’s a set of aging parents hoping they can make a prison visit, if the weather’s good, the driving’s OK, the arthritis isn’t too bad, and there’s money for gas.
There are grandparents who are no longer able to visit, whose hearts are filled with love and yes, confusion, but who don’t want to give up on their own flesh and blood.
There’s a confused and bitter woman who can’t believe that she was able to stop her abusive husband before he killed her…and yet she’s spending the rest of her life in prison.
There’s a man hurting with shame who finds it hard to believe that he screwed up this badly, and who wonders if he’ll ever be free again.
It’s Christmas day. A day that you and I will worship, laugh, play games, enjoy food and drink with the people we love, and go to bed at the end of the day filled and satisfied.
It ain’t that way for all.
Let’s pray that Jesus’ birth might bring happy conclusions to these and so many other sad stories, starting with a little touch of happiness today.