Christmas is a wonderful time of year. Perhaps the MOST wonderful time of the year.
But it can also be a difficult and challenging time for anyone who doesn't quite know where they fit in it all.
Family dynamics...being away from home...celebrating your first Christmas after losing someone you love.
It can leave you feeling like a stranger or a misfit at Christmas.
If that's you...you are not alone. In fact, the entire story of Christmas is a story of misfits, far from the warm feelings of the familiar...finding their home in a little baby...who himself was far from His home.
I hope that this simple and beautiful prayer from Henri Nouwen serves as a gift to you this Christmas.
And reminds you that you are never alone and that you are always at home with Jesus.
O Lord, how hard it is to accept your way. You come to me as a small, powerless child born away from home. You live for me as a stranger in your own land. You die for me as a criminal outside the walls of the city,
rejected by your own people, misunderstood by your friends,
and feeling abandoned by your God.
As I prepare to celebrate your birth, I am trying to feel loved, accepted, and at home in this world, and I am trying to overcome the feelings of alienation and separation which continue to assail me. But I wonder now if my deep sense of homelessness does not bring me closer to you than my occasional feelings of belonging. Where do I truly celebrate your birth: in a cozy home or in an unfamiliar house, among welcoming friends or among unknown strangers, with feelings of well-being or with feelings of loneliness?
I do not have to run away from those experiences that are closest to yours. Just as you do not belong to this world, so I do not belong to this world. Every time I feel this way I have an occasion to be grateful and to embrace you better and taste more fully your joy and peace.
Come, Lord Jesus, and be with me where I feel poorest. I trust that this is the place where you will find your manger and bring your light.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
How is this Christmas different for you?
How might you feel like a stranger, outsider, or misfit?
I'd love for you to share in the comments below!