What is the Christmas present no one wants to open, but one which most of us do? Pandora’s Box. The locked lid flies open, traumatic memories surface, or profound loss presses; the drunken uncle shows up, or your mouthy relative. Or your kids don’t show.
And that judgmental person who will not let you forget the mistakes you’ve made; or the roads you’ve travelled you prefer to ignore. Are you still are single, still childless? Did the job not pan out? Relationships become fractured; you cannot imagine how reconciliation will ever be remotely possible?
Try as you might, you cannot get organized. So the stress builds and builds until you’re stretched so thin you may snap. Feeling emotionally fragile, heaven help the person who looks at you sideways or says the wrong thing.
Your health is failing, or you cannot get relief from illness, and you are to dang tired for any of this. Why can’t your husband, wife, kids or people who claim to be your friends, help? Is that too much to ask?
Pondering every ounce of energy you have poured out, and oodles of time you spent making Christmas, the ‘most wonderful time of the year; ’ yet no one appreciated your efforts. Angry, resentful, and exhausted, the perfect Christmas did not show, and it eats away at you.
Pandora’s Box, the lid clean gone.
And, you are so relieved; Christmas behind you. Three-hundred and sixty-four days, and you get to do it over again. No thanks.
What to do, Bubba?
Release, let go, lower expectations, raze them to the ground. The picture you have of Christmas in your head? It does not exist.
Christmas has come and gone now. Pandora’s Box has wreaked havoc, and you are trying to regroup, recover. For others, though, it was not a disaster, but you sense a downward swing of emotion now that the ceaseless hype is waning.
So, your mind plays back the Christmas Story; of a Saviour come to save us.
The long journey, and no place to stay. A birth in a stable. Brilliant star shining.
The angels sang, shepherds and magi came. There were gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The Saviour, He came to take the power of Pandora’s Box and dismantle it, smash it, rid it of its horror. He came to save, heal, forgive and restore.
And His declaration is -“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,Because He has anointed Me, To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4: 18 &19
Into this mess, brokenness and pain; Jesus comes. He wraps us with tenderness, gives us grace. Soothes us with the comfort of mercy. He infuses, transfuses life into us. Today; He makes space for you, to be. We, not upbraided or scolded; we are, everlastingly, adored, loved.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16”
Hear the sounds of vibrant Love, echoing through the vast universe; in the wail of a babe, then in power, and at last, the gasp of final breath, “It is finished.”
See the tomb spilt open. Death forever conquered. Know true hope, that pulses, triumphant, the Resurrection.
Taste the bread and fish with Him on the beach; the salt in the air, the cool breeze on your skin. He turns to you now, His gaze riveting, enthralling: Love speaks again; “Go… preach… make disciples, and, lo, I am with you always.”
Jesus, with you, always.
He gives meaning and purpose, mission.
And the promise – Presence.
Never alone, abandoned or forsaken.
Next Christmas, this will be our focus?
And we’ll kick Pandora’s Box to the curb.