I can still remember driving around with my family to see the Christmas lights in many of the Saint Louis neighborhoods when I was a child. My sisters and I would eagerly await the drive home from our aunt’s house on Christmas eve when we would request one lighted detour after another. Those warm memories are a far, nostalgic cry from the first few lines of Coldplay’s recent single:
“Christmas night. Another fight. Tears we cried, a flood. Got all kinds of poison in, of poison in my blood”
Indeed, “Christmas Lights” certainly doesn’t seem very Christmas-like. And for many, that is true. Christmas is a time for reconnecting and rekindling, rejoicing in our family and friends, and most of all in the love of our Savior Jesus. So why does Coldplay characterize one of the most joyful holidays as a melancholy piano ballad?
I speak for many when I express that Holidays, especially Christmas, are some of the most difficult days of the year. Being around family can mean feeling old wounds and facing brokenness. This makes some of us acutely aware of the “poison” in our blood and in others; that sinful nature within us that gnaws and tears and threatens to alienate us from people, and has ultimately alienated us from God.
“Warm memories” of loving family are long buried for me as well. My parents divorced nearly a decade ago, and since those rough years there has been so much healing. My dad was remarried this past fall to a wonderful woman, and my mother has grown tremendously in her faith. But still, there lingers at times a feeling that wholeness we once had is forever lost, and it may always persist…or will it?
Coldplay’s song ends with these lines:
“Those Christmas lights light up the street, light up the fireworks in me, may all your troubles soon be gone, those Christmas lights keep shining on.”
As we come into a new year, I want to encourage you with this message. Christmas celebrates the miraculous birth of Christ – God with us – into a fallen, broken, undeserving world. It celebrates a Hope against all odds, and a power beyond human comprehension that has come to redeem, restore and make new. Even in the midst of difficult seasons we can have joy. Even those of us facing economic woes and enduring the burdens of broken families can call on Jesus who is mighty to save.
Habakkuk 3:18-19 “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.”
Let’s look to God and see what ways He has redemption in store for 2011.