The holidays are my very favorite time of year. From the moment I wake up Thanksgiving morning and start preparing that afternoon’s feast, to the stroke of midnight on Dec 31st when we welcome a new year, the entire season is filled with excitement, tradition and fun.

Like everything else in 2020, this year’s holiday season has been different than any other I have ever experienced. With two young children in the house, Christmas can’t help but still be magical, but in the wake of the pandemic, many of the things I always look most forward to are different this year. With Christmas parties being made virtual, trips to visit family postponed, and Christmas performances cancelled, it can feel like we are living through a real life version of the Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

While it may seem like this Christmas season has been filled with unprecedented fear and sadness, the truth is, as a nation we have experienced difficult Christmas’s before. In fact, some of our most beloved Christmas songs where written as a way to express the sadness many were feeling at that time. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and I’ll be Home for Christmas were both written about the pain and struggles of WWII. Stevie Wonder’s Someday at Christmas, and John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War is Over) were written in response to the societal turmoil and injustice of the late 60’s, and Do They Know it’s Christmas? brought worldwide attention to those suffering from famine at Christmas time in 1984.

What makes all of these songs powerful is the message they all express is not one of sadness, but of hope. And that would be my message to all of you in my final article of 2020. At its essence, hope is what Christmas has always been about. From the beginning, when the very hope of this world, Christ Jesus, was born in a lowly manger, the story of Christmas has always been a story of hope.

While it’s only natural to feel disappointment that this Christmas may not be everything you hoped for, never allow that disappointment to turn into despair.  Instead, abide in the hope that soon things will be better. The world will return to the way it was, and once again the joy and peace that we look to this day to provide, will return in all its glory.

I will wrap my article with a poem that was sent to me by a client of Stewardship Capital. Not unlike the lyrics of some of the songs mentioned earlier, these words help capture both the disappointment and the hope of Christmas in 2020.