[A sermon delivered on Christmas Eve, 2022.]
Brothers and sisters in the Christ Child, grace and peace, hope and joy to you, Amen.
This time of year is bound up in such high hopes. Like almost no other moment on our calendar, Christmas is a time when we yearn for everything to be just right. We get all the decorations and the lights in place. We set plans for family gatherings and parties hoping to see all of our favorite and beloved people. We even offer up prayers that the weather will cooperate just nicely and give us a white Christmas.
Yet as it goes with life, rarely does everything go according to plan. When party plans change we almost expect it. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, even that we kind of expect, it is Michigan after all. What really throws us is when tragedy and hardship and suffering find us in this most holy time of year. So many of us have endured losses at this time of year and they weigh on us, year after year. They take so long to heal. Losing loved ones so close to Christmas always seems to affect us more as it interrupts that idea. It interrupts those perfect hopes we so yearned for.