Sometimes the Holidays are Hard
The holidays are a mixed bag for me. I have the fondest memories of waiting atop the stairs with my eager sisters until Dad has lit the tree and confirmed that Santa found our fireplace. I love the Christmas hymns, giving the perfect present and the traditional treats. I even burn Christmas candles all year long, for the spicy aroma makes me happy.
But, if I’m honest, all of the expectation that the season will be magical and dusted with gold makes me feel like I’m some how missing something. I’m both filled up and left empty. Is it because I don’t have children through whose eyes I can see the enchantment? Is it because snow doesn’t fall in Florida? Is it because I’m not reading the nativity narrative more?
Author C.S. Lewis suggests it’s because as beautiful and miraculous as this life can be, we’re created for even more: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world,” he wrote in Mere Christianity.
The holidays—like the wonderful thrills of first kisses, babies asleep on your shoulder and full moons—awaken an ache in us, a “beautiful ache,” says my friend Leigh McLeroy. Beautiful for its ability to stretch our souls and make room for more of God.
“The trick is learning to allow the ache to take me where it wants to go,” Leigh says, “to tutor and tantalize my mostly numb senses with its laser-sharp aim. The challenge is to not kill it off before it fully arrives or dismiss it before it is ready to go.”