I find it sadly ironic that the season (Thanksgiving to Christmas) that is most about fullness is often the emptiest. At Thanksgiving houses are full, bellies are full, mouths are full of conversation and laughter. At Christmas, gift wrapping is full, bellies are full, houses are still full, and mouths are full of song.
And yet, this time of year is known for its rise in cases of depression. This season reminds some of losses felt in the past year. This season feels so empty for so many. And that emptiness is painful.
At the end of our church Christmas play this year, the manger will be empty. When we made that decision, it seemed almost artistic, but then I’ve been coming back to that thought over and over. I think about all the empty things in the story of Jesus. An empty manger, an empty cross, an empty tomb. And yet, in all of that emptiness, there is a mysterious, glorious fullness that goes along with it.
The manger was empty, but a man walked the earth filling it with love. The cross was empty, but a debt had been filled to overflowing. The tomb was empty, but a Presence filled the earth that continues to fill empty hearts.
There’s the age-old question: is the glass half full or half empty? Reading and living in God’s story shows me that the glass is always half-full, because God is continually pouring love, wisdom, peace, and courage into His family.
May you be blessed with the fullness of God’s presence this season. No matter what emptiness you feel, may the God of peace fill up your cup to overflowing.