For many of us Christmas time comes with sadness that cannot be wiped away by Christmas cards, carols, or cookies. Many of us mourn for something that is lost or long for something we have never had. Because of our sadness, we experience difficulty celebrating. This is not uncommon and none of us are alone. We ask ourselves, “Is there really room for joy in the midst of deep pain”? Here are three truths for those of us who struggle this time of year.
Jesus is Emmanuel, God with Us
When Jesus came to earth he came with the name Emmanuel, meaning God with us. Remembering that Jesus came as God in flesh helps us to more fully experience the nearness of God. The story of Christmas isn’t just something that happened thousands of years ago at a fixed point in time. The story of Christmas happens everyday in each of our lives when God shows up and says, “I am with you. I am here for you.” Emmanuel is God with us.
Jesus Came into Brokenness
Jesus was born into a broken world full of broken people. He voluntarily became human and chose to live amidst the darkened state of the world. Jesus did this in response to our brokenness. In his love, he decided to come to us and rescue us. We once lived a story of brokenness and despair; we now live a story of restoration and hope. Because Jesus lived in a broken world, he truly understands our pain and heals us.
Jesus Drives out Fear and Brings Joy
When the angel appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus, the angel said, “Fear not. I bring you good tidings of great joy.” The shepherds were afraid when the angel appeared. The angel responded to their fear by offering them a message of joy that drove the fear away. Jesus wants to do the same in our lives. He speaks joy into our fear. When we feel lost and afraid he says, “I am here to save you.” He offers us the joy of his rescue. We know that Jesus is God, God is love, and love drives out fear. Because of his love, he drives out our fear and replaces it with overwhelming joy.
To you who can’t provide all the things you want because money is tight, to you who experience the strain of broken family relationships, to you who are celebrating without a loved one who has always been there, God has come to be with you in your brokenness, to drive out fear, and to bring joy. May the peace of God be present in your hearts and lives this Christmas season. Merry Christmas.