Let’s face it, not everyone is filled with joyful anticipation when it comes to thinking about the holiday season and the birth of Jesus. Instead, many people are filled with dread and sorrow during the season of Advent as they anticipate Christmas.

There can be a variety of different reasons for these emotions, from loneliness, to a past sin, to dealing with family, a death of someone close to you, or the pressures of spending money that you may not be able to afford. The list can go on and on.

This holly, jolly time of year can feel more like a quagmire of depression!

A Season of Sorrow

For years, it was a torturous time for me. The abortion in my past would be magnified in everything I saw and heard. Mary’s “yes” to life in a difficult situation, shone a bright light on my “no”.

I envisioned all the toys Santa would never put under our Christmas tree for my missing son, and there was an empty place at the holiday table where he should be sitting. My sin screamed out at me throughout the Advent season. At times it was unbearable.

Years later, as a single parent (I made a poor marriage choice because of my wounds from abortion) I would spend countless Christmas Eves crying because I was unable to get the tree into the stand, or I would be totally frustrated at the toys that I was unable to put together.  It made the loneliness I felt, and the absence of a father in the home more apparent. l felt like a failure.

Then, of course, came dinner with family and my father who had coerced me into the abortion. The monster in our family that no one mentioned…ever! Yet we all knew he was there.

Everything around the season was self-centered and painful.

I tried to force myself to feel some joy for the sake of my children, but it was an act, and I was always happy when the holiday season was over.

Finding Joy

It wasn’t until I returned to my faith and came to know the love, forgiveness, and mercy of God that I was able to begin to look at Advent as a season of joyful anticipation. I learned to take the focus off of who I was, and what I had done, and place it on Jesus Christ, who he was, and what he had done for me.

  1. He lowered himself to become human so that in his humility we would feel free to approach him without fear.
  2. He took our human nature and through his active life reflected God showing us the way to peace.
  3. In his passion and death, he made up for our sins, even my sin of abortion.
  4. He gave us his Eucharistic Presence, so we could receive his life in us.
  5. He became the veil between heaven and earth where I could embrace him and touch my son through his presence on a spiritual level

I came to see this was Mercy himself being born. The same mercy who forgave my sins and opened the possibility of heaven for me.

The Mercy that is our salvation no matter what our sins, or loneliness, or troubles.

Yes, life can be hard. The absence of a loved one may stir our emotions, or perhaps they will be stirred by a sin we are struggling with or a difficult relationship. During these conflicting emotions it is important to remember that in the midst of it all Mercy himself is born, Jesus Christ Our Lord!