a childless Christmas

I was recently talking to a friend who said her parents had opted not to “do Christmas” this year in the way they had before. I wondered if perhaps this was because she and her brother were single and her sister had a boyfriend, but no kids. In other words, like many people, her parents believed “Christmas is for children.” And since there were no children to dote on, they might as well not do Christmas in their family.

When I asked my friend if this might be the reason, she said, “Yes. You nailed it.” And of course, she was sad about it. Because what better way to rub salt in the wound than to say, “You’re single and childless. There’s no point in ‘doing Christmas’ with you.”?

(In these parents’ defense, they might just not like the hassle of the whole production that “Christmas” has become, and they very well may be gung-ho about it again next year. But I share this anecdote simply to say that many people have the mentality that “Christmas is for children,” which can make this season extra hard on single and infertile women when gathering with family.)

On another note, let’s talk about children and Christmas. I think Christmas morning with kids can be awesome. I also think it can be crazy (cue the infamous Nintendo 64 video), and a little bit of a letdown when the kids don’t love their presents, or they just run away to play with them and you don’t see them the rest of the day. Indeed, children might enjoy opening presents a bit more than adults do, but Christmas is not for children. Christmas is for everyone.

After all, that’s what the angels said!

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

Praise be to God that Christmas will never be childless, even for us infertile women, because at the heart of Christmas is the Child, the one sent from heaven and born of a virgin, the Savior who brought a whole host of angels with Him, the baby who started this whole thing we call Christmas in the first place.

Christmas is about “glory to God and peace on earth” (Luke 2:14). It is about a special infant swaddled in clothes and lying in a manger because there was no room for Him in the inn. If we give up on Christmas because there are no children around to watch open presents, then we have given up too quickly.

Let me pause and affirm that yes, having no children around on Christmas can be devastating, especially if this was the year you thought you’d be pregnant, holding a newborn, or at least dating someone. Yes, this Christmas may feel lonelier than if children were laughing and squealing and tearing open gifts. But this sadness doesn’t mean we cannot celebrate the greatest day in history. After all, Christmas is the day the Scriptures say “the sunrise visited us from on high” (Luke 1:78). In other words, it’s the day that the light came to the darkness. It’s the day Jesus met us in our sorrow and hopelessness.  It’s the he day God wrapped Himself in human flesh and came to us to “guide our feet in the way of peace.” (Luke 1:79) Yes, Christmas is a day of glorious celebration, even if there are no children in the room, because Christmas is the day we remember Emmanuel, God with us.

So for those of us facing childless Christmases, let us use the pain we may feel as an opportunity to praise the Child who came for us, the one who grew up to die for us, the one whose love sustains not just for one day, but for a lifetime, and for forever.

Merry Christmas to every childless woman who reads this. Merry Christmas to all. ❤

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