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When It's Not the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Does the Christmas season bring up the best memories for you? 

My wife, Tara, has all the good memories when it comes to Christmas: I love hearing her talk about her childhood celebrations, being a part of countless Christmas musicals, the excitement knowing that it would be a “good Christmas” since her dad had picked up those extra overtime shifts. Christmas is like a magnifying glass of all the good she experienced. 

But for me, Christmas just magnifies all I have lost. My memories are the kind that included seeing a Christmas tree get thrown through our trailer window after an argument. It was me waiting for my mom or dad and having my foster parents mad at me because they didn’t show up. The holidays are no bundle of happy memories but more of a nightmare I’d rather forget. (You can hear more of my story HERE.) 

Christmas might feel complicated.

When Tara and I got married, she didn’t always get why I was more distant during the holidays. I saw the joy around me and didn’t want to bring others down. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it was like I didn’t belong. But I also wanted to make it good for Tara, and later, our children. It felt complicated. Celebrating all that God has given us right now, yet also mourning what was lost.

Holidays might not get easier, but there is always Hope.

If Christmas is just about nostalgia and good memories, then if you don’t have those things, you might feel that you have nothing to celebrate. But if Christmas is celebrating Jesus as the Light and Hope of the world, then that is something worth celebrating, all year round. That is why Jesus came! To bring Light into darkness and Hope to the hopeless. To be a Savior for sinners.

Tara and Joe Buchanan

Joe and Tara Buchanan have been married for 23 years and have four children, ages 10-20. They share more marriage and family encouragement on their blog, Behind Our Smiles.

If this season is hard for you, remember the incredible love that He has for you, my friend. You are so very loved, regardless of what you have been through. Even if this season is difficult, you can celebrate Jesus this year by inviting Him into your brokenness. That is where true Joy and true Peace are found! 

If you’re struggling this season, you are not alone. Reach out to a friend, and don’t isolate yourself. If we can be praying for you, reach out to WCIC's Prayer Center HERE, or you can email me HERE.

I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. - John 12:46

-Joe Buchanan, Station Manager