The days lengthen; the darkness grows. As we begin our inner preparation for the coming of the babe of Bethlehem, we're tempted to succumb to sentimentality. Many of you who are reading these pages live with the effects and limitations of illness. Perhaps you have diabetes, cancer or multiple sclerosis. Perhaps a beloved friend or family member lives with the harsh reality of Parkinson's disease or cystic fibrosis. The scandal of the Incarnation, the deep message of the Christmas season, tells us that God in Christ is with us in the struggle of illness.
For those of us living with chronic, progressive or terminal illness, this season can be extremely difficult. After all, every grocery store and card shop has had those cute manger scenes on display for months. Our ears have been filled with Christmas melodies since way before Halloween. It's so tempting to reduce everything to candy canes and Christmas cheer when what we need is the good news of God in Christ who embraces all that it is to be human, including life marked by suffering and pain.
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