A Christmas Reflection
A Christmas Reflection
a guest post by Kristin B. Meyer, LMSW of Bethany Christian Services
There’s no denying that it’s hard to be infertile around the holidays.
Most of us know this full well—the general spirit of joy and the special “magic” of Christmas for children can create in us an even more intense longing and sense of alienation from what so many seem to be experiencing at this time of year. A quick Internet search will uncover many thoughtful articles with tips for couples dealing with infertility on how to survive the holidays and to navigate a myriad of family functions while maintaining a sense of well-being. It’s important to know and to understand our limits, and to give ourselves grace during seasons that can be more painful to us.
But I want to challenge us to go beyond merely surviving the Christmas season. If we are finding ourselves only dreading Christmas and the painful family get-togethers we need to endure, then maybe we, like so many others in our culture today, have become too focused on our own needs and are missing the opportunity to actually experience the joy of Christmas.
And maybe our experiences with infertility can give us unique insight into the wonder of Christmas.
For example, because of infertility, I’ve learned in painful medical detail all that must happen “just right” in order for a child to be conceived and to grow. I also know that, no matter the level of medical assistance, the gift of life is not a medical procedure—it’s a miracle! Knowing all this, it’s even more incredible to think about God intervening and creating the Word of Life in Mary’s womb. Through the miracle of the incarnation—of “God-with-us”—we can remember that nothing is too difficult for God.
Because of infertility, we know deeply what it is to long for something more at Christmas. We keenly realize that so much of what the world offers us at Christmas is hollow. We don’t really need a new sweater or another gift card; we are longing for a child and for answers to our prayers. At Christmas time, when God provided us His most precious Gift, we can renew our trust in our Father, who hears our prayers and knows how to give good gifts to His Children.
Because of infertility, we have an opportunity to redefine how we celebrate Christmas. The reality is that so many people these days, not just those experiencing infertility, seem to be just “surviving” the holidays. We spend too much money, eat too much food, and are overscheduled with parties and holiday programs. Maybe if we feel the need to pull back from activities that are painful, we can use this extra time to establish new traditions apart from the normal pull of shopping and presents. Instead, maybe we can cultivate hearts that focus on joyfully celebrating the birth of Jesus that forever changed our world. We can proclaim that Jesus’ birth and life offer lasting hope and peace to a hurting world, including us, as hurting people.
This Christmas take care of yourself, avoid painful gatherings, but don’t avoid worship, wonder, thanksgiving, hope, and peace. These are just some of God’s gifts for us at Christmas.
Be sure to check here on the blog at the start of the New Year. Kristin will be sharing another post she’s written, A New Year Reflection. If you’d like to know more about Bethany’s support services for couples facing infertility, pregnancy loss or adoption check the website of of Bethany Christian Services at www.Bethany.org/infertility.