It occurs to me quite often that Christmas is, for many, the most difficult time of the year. So many of you are hurting from a loss. And the bells of Christmas may not sound joyful to you this year, but rather sound as a sharp awakening to all of those losses. Maybe you feel as though you are outside of Christmas, nose pressed against the pane, looking in. I see you, friend. And I have a secret to tell you. It’s one that has taken me 28 years to find, and I am honestly still in the midst of uncovering it ...Because on this day 28 years ago I stood at my mother’s bedside as a little girl, and said goodbye to her for the last time. That day I lost more than I could wrap my young mind around. The loss has been perpetual and Christmas was one of the innumerable things that went missing. But, here is the secret I have learned in the heaviness, and whenever Christmas seems to be locked up in a room I could no longer enter: It’s that Christmas is for the broken hearted most of all. See, I used to think that Christmas only belonged to the happy people, (and they do possess something of it, it’s true), but you, oh hurting soul... you, oh broken hearted one: Christmas is especially for you. When you are in the throes of suffering, you are nearer to the One who heard that cry and answered. Your tears were seen. And you were not left here alone. It was for the broken that He came. Whenever I have looked on the manger through tears, it is then that the world blurs from view and I see him shining the brightest. It is then I know it most deeply: Christmas is for me. Of course we don’t long for suffering in order to see Jesus better, but if that is where you happen to be today, I want you to know that you aren’t on the outside looking in, friend. You are actually in the very heart of Christmas. You are in its midst. Look up and see that your Joy has come. And to the ones who still laugh in the halls of a merry Christmas, I bid to you, welcome inside the ones who peer through the window or stand at the door longingly. For when you do, you are welcoming Christ.