When Christmas Loses its Shine

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Do you aim for a coordinated look or theme? Does the

christmasornamentcrosstinsel match the curtains? Or is the very notion of tinsel an anathema to you?

I am a sucker for those glossy magazines that come out this time of year. The ones with a gloriously roasted turkey on the cover, complete with all the trimmings. Perfectly cooked. Perfectly presented. Perfect in every way with a gloss finish.

I imagine my Christmas will look the same.

Of course, it never does.

My Christmas has more of a matt finish. Decorations of one sort or another are randomly hung on the tree by my six year old; meaning that most of them are at the bottom leaving a half-naked and somewhat lopsided tree looking, well, past its best shall we say.

Then there’s the turkey. Well, that’s not too bad I have to say. After all, a turkey is a turkey. But the rest of it? Certainly nothing like the magazines. All cooked to perfection and…..ready AT THE SAME TIME. Not in my Christmas. In fact, Christmas pudding and roast potatoes are not such an unusual combination – once you’ve had no option but to try it because the oven didn’t get its act together.

And that’s on a good Christmas. On a Christmas when no one is unwell or in hospital. A Christmas when we haven’t had to call out a doctor or a nurse for our disabled daughter. Or a Christmas when we are missing someone dear.

Like many others who are grieving. It’s a Christmas that is all too painful a reminder of what or who we have lost.

It’s a Christmas that has lost its shine.

Yet for those of us who love Jesus, it’s those Christmases that can, if we let them, become the most special Christmases of all. They can take on a shine that will never wear off, never disappoint and never be fake. It’s at those times in our lives when , if we allow it, the true meaning of Christmas can penetrate our souls and draw us closer to the One who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us.

The glossy magazines might tell us how Christmas should look. And, if we believe them, then of course we will be disappointed.

The Bible tells us what Christmas really looks like.

And it’s not glossy.

Think about it. Think about it from the perspective of that first family Christmas.

Joseph and Mary’s first family Christmas.

It’s dirty, it’s messy, it’s frightening, it’s sad (what mother wants to be homeless with a new-born?), it’s hard. It’s painful. It’s tough.

And yet, there, in amongst the pain and the difficulty, is found treasure.

And I’m not talking about the gold or the frankincense or the myrrh. Great gifts indeed.

There, in the very centre of this Christmas mess is treasure. Real treasure.

The Saviour of the World.


And He is here today. At the centre of our messy Christmases – if we could only see him. If we could only put down the glossy magazines. Lay aside the human expectations and invite Jesus in to our mess, our sadness, our disappointment, our pain, our loss.

Look for him. Look for him in your sadness today. In your hurt or anger. In your pain and suffering. He is there, if we could only open our eyes and see Him. He knows, he really knows what it is to be in a mess. To be in a place that is hard, so very very hard.

He knows what it is to have the shine taken off our very existence.

A King born not in a palace but in the filth and mess of a stable.

The King of Heaven.

The King of Heaven knows you and loves you. He sees what makes you sad. He knows your disappointment. He wants more than anything to reach down to you in that place. That difficult and dark place and whisper His love for you.

Jesus can shine into the darkest of places and the most troubled of hearts.

I pray that you will experience His radiance this Christmas like never before.


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