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A quick scan through the radio dial this season may leave a grieving soul with the impression that there is no room for the sorrowful during the holiday season. This is, after all, a holly-jolly season. It is the most wonderful time of the year. If the television commercials are to be believed, everyone appears to be happy, hopeful, and honestly thrilled to be celebrating another Christmas. Sad people apparently are not included.
In our sanitized versions of the Christmas story, even the folks in the nativity scene seem to be absolutely beside themselves. Mary and Joseph, after the minor hiccup with the hotel arrangements, end the evening with a happy, healthy, baby. The Shepherds get free admission to the very first Christmas cantata. Even the wise men, after a long and arduous journey, found their way to the Christ child while bearing gifts that were sure to upstage almost all others. Most shops in Bethlehem sold out of gold, frankincense, and myrrh on Black Friday.
It all seems so sentimental, so serene, so superbly blessed that it’s tempting to think that whereas at that first Christmas, there was no room at the inn for Jesus, now, two millennia later, with all the tinsel and the toys, all the laughter for girls and boys, there’s no room at Christmas for those who are grieving.
I have good news for the sorrowful. While there may not be room for you in a Hallmark version of Christmas, there’s all sorts room for you in a New Testament Christmas. I know this because right there in the pages of the New Testament, we learn that a grieving heart had a front row seat to the arrival of the Messiah.