What do you remember as your best Christmas? Was it a childhood memory, a memory from your teen years? In the days around Christmas, we often remember Christmases past, sometimes with great fondness. Sometimes we wish we could recreate the magical emotions of our favorite past Christmas.
And sometimes, we remember Christmases filled with loss and grief. A dear friend of mine lost her son in 2012 right before Christmas. For her, Christmas might always be a time of grief, and certainly nostalgia.
And yet we move on, some of us relishing every Christmas tradition, others just going through the motions. It is true that few of us get to experience a perfect Hallmark-like Christmas. But most all of us experience Christmas with nostalgia.
Nostalgia is delicate, but potent. In Greek, it literally means, “pain from an old wound.” It has been called a twinge in your heart far more powerful than a memory. It is a feeling of a place where we long to go again.
The Christmas season does bring us feelings of nostalgia. But the alternative is to feel no emotion at all. And while we remember the birth of the child we know as the Prince of Peace, the lonely star-lit night in a Bethlehem stable, the miraculous visit of the magi, and the song of angels, it’s more than appropriate to feel nostalgia.
I wish you the feeling of nostalgia this season, and I pray that, though it may bring some sorrow, it will also bring you bright and pleasant memories of Christmases past.