Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you’re having a day of cheer and festivities with loved ones!
And if you’re not, I hope that you stay warm, find joy in the season (and the reason for it), and enjoy your day. I know that’s easier said than done, especially if you’re having a tough season or tough year, even. Christmas just isn’t a happy time for many folks – the cold weather and the celebration had by those around us might magnify our feelings of loneliness or make our depression state worse.
While most Christmas specials focus on the lighter side of the holidays, there are a select few that drift into melancholy. The Christmas episodes from Toradora are definitely in the latter category, kicked off, as it were, by Minori’s breakdown when she shatters Taiga’s ornament and knocks over the class Christmas tree and ending with Taiga bawling and Minori rejecting Ryuuji. In between there are some hijinks and laughs (Kimatura gets naked, again), but the characters at the center of the episode – Ryuuji, Taiga, and Minori – are anything but happy.
If you’re feeling down this Christmas, I hope that you’ll find some hope, not in parades and gifts and greetings, and not even in relationships which, as Toradora shows, can go awry, but in an unchanging, perfect source. The story of Christmas is simple – it’s the story of God’s love for all people, that he humbled himself to serve us, loving us in spite of who we are, in spite of knowing all of our flaws, in spite of the fact that we have acted as his enemy. That love doesn’t change with the season – it remains even when the snows melt and spring rains come, and remains steady and strong as a roaring fire when ice returns again.
And I know that looking toward Christ doesn’t guarantee rainbows and puppies – the very ending of Toradora, in which not everyone is happy, bears this out. Sadness is difficult to overcome, depression is long-lasting, and the source of all this pain may remain. But in Christ, there is hope, and beyond that, there is genuine change that will occur as we trust God. He promises it. And when god promises something, it’s as good as gold – after all, he proved his love by coming in the humblest of ways and dying under the most humiliating and painful circumstances, for us all.
featured image by あしたばてんぐ | reprinted w/permission