The first word that might come to mind after “Christmas”: “merry”. This season is associated with magical holiday settings, gastronomic festivities, gorgeous “perfect gifts”, love-and-laughter-filled family dinners. But it’s also a time when people’s sorrow could be heightened when circumstances fall short of the world’s Christmas projected images.
Bites of Reality… my classmate’s wife just passed away from cancer a few days ago, a friend her mother the other day, a couple is still struggling with grief from the loss of their son last year. A dear person is sick right now on the first day of her Christmas vacation. A wrong decision has set my employee’s sister’s life into a downward turn. My friend is halfway through a divorce. A father of four lost his job. Some people lost their homes in the last storm.
If you are one of those who are experiencing pain or loss this Christmas, I would like to encourage you that Christmas is for you. Christ is for you. He knows and is compassionate for your pain, suffering, and anguish. Contrary to today’s connotations of Christmas, Jesus’s birth was far from glamorous, festive, abundant. There wasn’t even room at the inn after all that last-trimester primitive 120 km-or-so travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem sans a GPS. His birth was in a smelly animal stable, and Herod wanted to kill Him. He lived the simple life of a carpenter’s son. His suffering before His humiliating criminal’s death on a cross was excruciating, it caused Him so much anguish that His sweat was like blood. His life was His gift.
Jesus today is no helpless baby-on-hay to decorate a side table nor a scrawny body on a cross. He died. He rose again. He is alive. He now sits far above all rule and authority. The power God exerted to raise Jesus from the dead is the same power for you who believe.
No matter what your passing circumstance is today, may you be strengthened from within and know that the God of Hope loves you, knows you, and is available to you. Jesus is the Good Shepherd in whom you will lack nothing. He will make you lie down in green pastures, provide for you, refresh your soul. Even though you walk through the darkest valley, you will fear no evil for He is with you. He will comfort you.
Jesus came to die for you. You are the reason that He came to give His life. So that you may live. Abundantly.
Eph 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened
in order that you may know
the hope to which he has called you,
the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is the same as the mighty strength
20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead
and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion,and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.