Today is the third Sunday of Advent—God arriving as a man through Christ and the miracle of the incarnation.  It’s also a time when we look forward to the second coming of our Lord. Christmas is just around the corner, and the sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday are everywhere. Houses and buildings sparkle with brilliant lights.

   People are busy buying gifts and making plans to spend time with family and friends. Christmas carols fill the soundtracks of our day, and it seems like folks go out of their way to be nice to each other. Surely you’ve noticed how Christmas can bring out the best in many of us.

At the same time, many people struggle during this time of year. For some, Christmas brings despair. Not everyone has the resources to purchase gifts, so this season brings their lack into sharp contrast. Some people have experienced loss, and Christmas reminds them of a deceased loved one. Others may not have the relationships they would like, and this season makes them feel lonely and isolated.  And let’s not forget the people in our community who may feel alienated because they don’t celebrate Christmas. What does the coming of Christ mean for all our brothers and sisters who struggle during the Christmas season? Is the coming of Christ good news for them?