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Christmas serves as a season of joy, but for many the holidays are a source of grief or pain.

The reasons vary. For some, it is the grief of a lost loved one. Others hurt from a broken family. Still others cope with health concerns or disability. These and other pains can lead to a Christmas of discouragement.

I know because I have personally struggled in this area. The most difficult year was Christmas 2000, the first year my father had passed away. How could I rejoice, knowing I would live through December 25th without the person who had been at my side nearly every Christmas for my entire life?

Rather than looking forward to Christmas Day, I dreaded it. When the day arrived, I went through the motions, but felt numb to much of the activities around me.

But this end was not the end. It was a new beginning.

That year also reminded me my time in this world is limited. The clock is ticking.

I have stopped looking at the holidays, or any day, as a time to dread, but a challenge to face.

Bad weather? Let’s do this.

Flat tire? Bring it on.

Fever? Not stopping me.

Bank account low? Don’t give up.

I also have another inspiration. On the very first Christmas, Jesus didn’t leave the luxuries of heaven complaining about the manger or the humble upbringing he would have in Nazareth. He came to serve.

If he can, I can. And so can you.

Our hope for the holidays is also the reason for the season. The baby in the manger is also the Savior of the world.

On the practical side, there are things we can do:

  • Spend time with loved ones
  • Remember the good times from the past
  • Slow down to enjoy the simple things

Yet the foundation for these and other factors that improve Christmas in our lives emerge from the joy Jesus brings.

Maybe the reason we sometimes struggle with Christmas is because we forget why we really celebrate it. December 25th is a day to thank Jesus for coming. The food is great. The presents are nice. The true hope, however, is found in one who came to save us all.

If you haven’t already, take time to look at a nativity scene. Consider Mary and Joseph. Think of the shepherds who witnessed angels on Christmas night. Reflect on the journey of the wise men who left everything to see the newborn king.

Most of all, remember Jesus. He is our hope. He is our peace. Jesus is the reason for Christmas.

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Dr. Dillon Burroughs is one of America’s top communicators on today’s Christian issues. He serves as senior writer of The John Ankerberg Show and is author or coauthor of nearly 40 books. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter. He lives with his wife and three children in Tennessee.

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