Christmas is supposed to be a season of joy, peace, and cheer. Everyone and everything around you will remind you of this—from Starbucks cups to Christmas music to the simple greeting, “Merry Christmas!”, we are bombarded with the seasonal cheer.
But some find this to be season of doubt, or fear, or confusion. Perhaps it is because of the loss of a loved one who no longer sits with you at the Christmas feast. It could be unanswered questions about the Incarnation itself. But here is something to consider: you are in good company.
Though we criticize those who don’t express joy and peace during this season, doubt and fear are very much part of the Advent story. Joseph doubted Mary, and feared the angel that appeared to him. Mary feared the angel, and questioned “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Zechariah doubted the angel’s words, and was made mute for the duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. And John the Baptist—even after imprisonment—still wasn’t sure if this was the Messiah, and sent his own disciples to inquire.
Yet even those who doubted and feared were invited to be part of the Advent narrative. And as they began to observe and listen and participate, something incredible happened. Joseph obeyed, protecting Mary. Mary sang a song of praise: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Zechariah prophesied: “The sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” And John the Baptist prepared the way for the Messiah, even baptizing him.
As we await our Lord, remember this—He comes for all, doubters and afraid included. Rest in the knowledge that Advent tells your story, too—watch, listen, and participate.