Does Joy Feel Elusive?
Amid festive chaos and reflection during the holiday season, emotions vary widely. As someone acquainted with the highs and lows of life, I offer a unique perspective on finding hope in difficult times.
Reflecting on Mary’s Response in Luke 1:38
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” – holds profound meaning for us today. Mary, unsuspecting as to how her availability would impact her for the rest of her life, said yes, use me. A young girl betrothed for marriage faced shattered dreams as her anticipated wedding celebration turned to silence, secrecy, and likely feelings of shame on or from loved ones.
In today’s culture, where much emphasis is placed on proposals and weddings, it’s essential to consider the well-being of those with whom weddings are celebrated. How might one be more than a guest? A simple call to check on couples or those struggling with separation or divorce can make a significant difference. Give time to listen. Your presence may be the most meaningful word or action of encouragement someone needs.
Despite the challenges, Mary’s acceptance of her role as the mother of Jesus mirrors the human experience. Her initial suffering extended beyond societal backlash to a lifelong journey marked by rejection and the profound question posed by her own son: “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Matthew 12:48 As a mother, I know that hurt deeply.
Mary and Jesus willingly embraced the human experience at levels never to be equaled; Jesus was divine, and Mary was no more sacred than you or I. Her mission included human suffering, unlike yet similar to what many others have since suffered. Both entered suffering from the moment of conception. It is no different for all we conceived in a broken world. For Jesus suffering culminated when he bore the weight of our sins on the cross. Mary’s suffering was inescapable as a bereaved mother, having been traumatized by the manner of and presence at his death. Yet, her story is a testament to the endurance of hope amid pain. Tragically, despair, apart from knowing the hope of Christmas and the promise fulfilled by Christ’s resurrection, can lead to dangerous despair. There is hope amid pain, so remember those in pain and let your presence be available.
The hope we find in Christ goes beyond hard times – He is the anchor that sees us through every tragedy and trial. Judas’ angst led to self-destruction, and tragically, too many are at risk of permanent consequences resulting from poor choices and self-medication during hard times. Tragically, Judas did not have others come alongside to see him through his darkest hours. He did not stick around to realize that Christ is the resurrection. Christmas is about hope and help for all humanity. It is about the greatest gift of all: Emmanuel- God With Us.
Mary’s journey reflects the living proof that God’s resurrection power transcends even the darkest moments into a place of hope. Whether in it or further along a challenging season that another may be facing, reach out, offer hope, and choose to be present. God so loved the world that he gave His son His love, His life, for whoever believes will have everlasting life. That includes you and means there is hope. Jesus modeled presence. Show up and be present.
During hard times at Christmas, let us learn from unseen journeys shared in vulnerability so that someone else may gain conquering hope and be able to achieve victory. This season imparts enduring hope. Please don’t let this season pass without awareness of God’s presence. For this is the greatest gift of all.
Crisis hotline numbers are essential have this in your phone contacts National Suicide Prevention 1-800-784-2433 or 988 (may not work fully in all states at this time).
Veronica Sites is available for speaking, as a guest on podcasts, and trying in Suicide Prevention.