Everybody in the house has scattered…
Light sabers have been shut down while my boys have drifted off into their own little places to enjoy the latest toy or gadget that has their attention, all while Daddy has a little cat nap to rest up for the next round of Christmas that will rapidly arrive this afternoon. I sit in the quiet aftermath of it all…torn paper and scattered tissue…the sure sign that it was an eventful morning in our house. In my few moments of relaxed silence I find my mind drifting. I cannot help but think about how on this day of celebration…when our attention is splintered in a million different directions…that there is one central point of focus…Jesus Christ.
Strip away all the hustle, all the bustle, all the excess, and at the heart of Christmas is this amazing story of love. Might this thought be repetitive of my last posting? Possibly, but so worth repeating. In the wandering of my mind God keeps calling me back to a simple truth, this season of gayety and festivity for many is also a season of sorrow and heartache for many more. This thought has followed me through this Christmas season…it reminds me how fragile we really are. The widows weep, a parent’s heart breaks, a child longs for the touch of a mother who is no longer here to soothe the ache. The disparity of disease touches the heart of a family, unemployment makes the season a glaring reminder of all that has gone wrong, abuse and brokenness ravage the victims in its path. The unrest of the world leaves us weary and burdened. Those who long for justice and those who seek to protect us from harm are at odds, we seem to be a nation divided on rights, freedom, morals, justice, and politics. We ache and long for hope…
“So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
Circumstances…they are ever-changing but God NEVER changes. He is the same today as He was yesterday and He will be tomorrow. Regardless of where we find ourselves this Christmas day or how much the world seems to spinning out of control the one thing that remains…on this day love came down. The story of God collides in the heavenly explosion with the human experience in stable in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. Fully God, fully human Jesus Christ lays as a baby in a manager to demonstrate to the world how much God, the Father, loves us. His mission is actually quite simple…He is here to die. To make right the wrong of sin so that we can be reconciled with the Father who loves us so deeply, so irreversibly that He will do anything to save us…including sacrificing His Son. In the birth of Jesus Christ God cries to His people….”Do not be afraid, I am with you.” Through His Son, His peace which surpasses all understanding helps us to rise above the worries and the troubles of this life so that we can rest in the hope that springs eternal.
“Whom Shall I Fear? I know Who goes before me. I know Who stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side. The One who reigns forever, He is a friend of my mine. The God of angel of armies is always by my side.’ ~ Chris Tomlin
The beauty of the Christmas gift is not a perfect life. No, the beauty of the Jesus Christ is love. Through Him God demonstrates love and in Him we have witnessed perfect love. His grace and love flows unto us and as we accept this precious gift of love it should pour out of us unto others. Grace and love…those are the truest Christmas gifts one will ever receive. They are gifts that should reside in us always and will remain through eternity.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13
As we celebrate today I cannot help but be mindful of those who will struggle this Christmas. I remember our first Christmas after the diagnosis…I remember the first Christmas after losing our daughter. There is a gaping whole in your heart and you ache in the paradox of emotions that the season brings. Like a pendulum your emotions swing back and forth. But it was in the quiet moments that I let the gift of Christmas soothe my aching soul. The gift of God’s love coming down showed me beauty…regardless of my circumstances His love never changes. He is always by my side. He goes before for me, He stands behind me, and sometimes He even has to carry me but He is always there. This precious gift born on Christmas morning…do you know how much His presence can radically transform your life? When we walk in His love the burden of this aching world is soothed by the One who will reign over it forever.
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining til He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” ~ O Holy Night
My Christmas wish is that the love and grace of Jesus Christ will reign over our world. Not the Jesus you think you know from sound bites, not the Jesus that religion told you about…the TRUE Jesus…Christ the new-born king. The One who came in love to shower the grace of God unto all men. The One who came to ease our burdens, calm our fears, soothe our aching hearts. The One whom salvation is found and the hope of eternity rests in. How we rejoice when we know that the troubles of this life are temporary and that God can and will use all circumstances for good and His glory. How our world might change if we all loved the way the baby in the manager that we celebrate today did. Today He holds the weak, the lonely, the burdened, and the heartbroken close to Him and He cries to us, His people, to be His light and His love to a world that so desperately needs Him. My Christmas wish is that we would all honor the day that God’s love came down to earth by being the people who God has created us to be…by being the people who the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ, empowers us to be. My Christmas wish is that all those who are burdened and troubled will find rest and healing in the One that loves us so much that He sent His One and only Son to reconcile us to Him. For He is love and His great love for us is demonstrated through His Son, Jesus Christ. May the weary world rejoice today knowing that the love of God is still active, still present, all-consuming, and never-ceasing. There is no greater gift than that.