Bioethics Blogs

Christmas and suffering

Christmas is a time that most of us associate with happy things. It is a time of gathering with family, giving gifts, and singing together. It is a time of children’s hopes and smiles. We light candles representing hope, love, joy, and peace. However, Christmas speaks to suffering as well.

Those of us who practice medicine spend much of our time caring for those who are suffering in one way or another. Many times Christmas is a very difficult time for those who are suffering or grieving. Everyone else seems to be happy when they are not. But Christmas has much to say to those who are suffering.

Christmas is the time we remember that God loved his fallen, suffering people so much that he chose to become one of them, one of us, to suffer with us. We could discuss endlessly why suffering and pain and evil exist, but it is our experience that they do. God’s ultimate answer to our suffering is not a philosophical or theological one but a very personal one in Jesus, the baby we celebrate at Christmas. Jesus chose to leave the glory he had experienced from before the beginning of this world to come and live as one of his created beings and suffer with and for us. When we are suffering we can be tempted to think that God is either unable to help or chooses not to because he is against us or does not care. Jesus shows us that God cares so much that he was willing to suffer and die for us so that we could become what he always wanted us to be.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.