Ah, Christmas. For many it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Spending time with family and friends, celebrating with people we love [as well as a couple we just celebrate with at this time every year ‘cause it’s the only time we see them], and thinking back over all that’s happened up to this point in life. That’s what we do. We open presents, clean up messes, sing some different songs, and watch college football games that don’t really matter… Christmastime.
This season can be tricky though. If we get around people we haven’t seen in a while and feel like they’re doing better than we are we can get jealous. If we listen to others celebrate and feel like we have little to celebrate compared to them it can depress us. If we think back over our life and we see more regret, pain, loss and sorrow than we see joy, hope and fulfillment it can leave us hurting. It very true that the “most wonderful time of the year” isn’t really that for a bunch of people.
Merry Christmas. right. It’s so real though. More people commit suicide this time of year than at any other of the year. Why? C’mon, reread paragraphs one and two while we wait...
As a Christ follower, Christmas is the time we celebrate God sending His only Son, Jesus, to this planet. Born to a virgin, in a manger, as the Savior of the world. He lived a perfect life and died the cruelest death so that we might have the chance to know what it means to have relationship with God. When the angel told Mary, Jesus’ mother, that this would happen, he told her his name would be “Immanuel” which means this… “God with us."
Every Christmas, my heart is encouraged by this reality. He’s not just God for us. He’s not just God over us. He didn’t come to judge, condemn, and give us a rule book. He’s not mad. He’s not far away. However, many people perceive this to be who God is. His arms are crossed, His brow shows anger and He’s just waiting for us to mess up so He can let out some divine “Ah, ha!”.
Nope, wrong. He is, as the angel said, “God with us”. With. WITH. WITH! Successes and failures… He is God with us. In moments of loss and hurt… He is God with us. In times of regret and in times of wonder… He is God with us. Right now, as you read this, there is one reality that when you believe it will literally change everything…
He is “God with us”.
If in this season your heart is heavy because of a loved one you lost this year, God is with you. If in this season you are celebrating the incredible blessings that life has brought you this year, God is with you. If you’re afraid for what is coming, anxious over who is coming, or overjoyed with what is coming... God is with you.
He’s not a far away God. He’s with you. You see, before Jesus was born the angel announced who He was… “Immanuel, God with us”. Then, before He left this planet, Jesus made a promise when He said, “You can be sure of this, I am with you always… even to the end of the age."
He is God. He is with you. So smile… put your hope in His promise to you. He is with you… and with that, Merry Christmas.