The countdown is almost over. Christmas is almost here.
I love this time of year; the Christmas lights, the trees, the music, the cold (or somewhat cold) weather, and the spirit that fills people. It’s truly magical.
Whether or not you believe in the person and work of Jesus, Christmas is a celebration of Him. He was the baby who was born in a cave (or a manger), the one the wise men came to see, and the one who died on a cross 33 years or so later. Whether or not you believe in Jesus, and whether or not you believe that what He claimed/s is true, it’s obvious that He caused a stir in this world – and that things, since Him, have never been the same.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus.
You see, sometimes I hear the story of Jesus’ birth and forget the magnitude of what that birth meant for me. I read the Christmas story and I sing the carols, but I fail to reflect on the fact that Jesus was a real person who came to this earth to die on a cross. I forget to remember that because of his birth, I have hope in the midst of chaos and a salvation that can never be taken away from me.
If I’m being honest with you, this year has had its rough patches. The changes associated with marriage (new locations, new churches, the changing of communities, etc.), the loss of loved ones, and the various battles with deep-seeded idols have left me feeling low at times. In areas where I used to feel strong, I have felt weak, and in areas where I once felt peace, I’ve felt unsettlement. There hasn’t been an area of my life that hasn’t been jostled by the Holy Spirit, it seems.
As I’ve been thinking through all of this stuff, I have thought about Jesus.
On a cold night over 2,000 years ago, God sent his only Son into a world torn by violence, madness, and prejudice to redeem it. He knew his son was going to die on the cross and he knew the world would reject him, but He sent him anyways.
You see, Jesus’ birth is not some distant event; it is something very relevant to us today. It is not some general idea; it is something extremely intimate. On that night, Jesus not only stepped into the confusion and chaos of the world at large, but He also stepped into the chaos and confusion of our hearts – and in that, we can find hope.
Our insecurity, our pride, our lack of forgiveness, our self-concern, our materialism, our bitterness, our unhealthy way of coping with life, our addiction, our worry, our doubt, our temporary fix, our overindulgence, our self-worship, our inability to serve others, our broken heart, our loss, our co-dependency, our need to control everything, and all of our other issues – Jesus stepped into. And I believe He longs to put it all in its proper place.
Isaiah 7:14 reads as follows:
“The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Immanuel means, “God with us.” (See Matthew 1:23.) This is a big deal.
God didn’t see our chaos and run. He saw our chaos and stayed in it. He didn’t flee – and, perhaps, because of this, we can know that our “junk” isn’t too much for Him.
God is with us.
When I feel confused, lonely, worn out, and unsure of what to do, I must remember this. I must remember that there’s nothing too big for Him. He saw the chaos, and He came. He sees the chaos, and He’s still here. I can trust Him.
I don’t know what you’re going through. You may be having the year of your life, or you may be down in the trenches of a battle, but one thing is certain:
God is with us. He is not dead – He hasn’t vanished.
He is the maker of the stars and the healer of our hearts. There is hope.
Wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing this Christmas, may the joy and hope of Christ fill your heart and mind.
“We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us and eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-17