I picture you at Christmas. Do you see what I see?
Crazy busy. Perhaps crazy lonely. Wondering how you’re going to fit everything in, or wishing you had something to fit in. Wondering how you’ll survive. Oh, I picture you at Christmas, because I’ve been to some of those places too.
This is my Christmas hope for you:
I pray you a new sense of comfort and joy. One that refreshes and restores all your weary and anxious parts. The ones you hide so well and the ones you can’t hide at all. A sense of Presence that abolishes your fear and embraces you with the deep certainty that you are loved. So loved. An abiding strength that buoys you up to carry on.
My hope is not unrealistic. You can grab it, hold it, count on it. It’s the essence of Christmas.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, (which means “God with us”) Matthew 1:23.
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah the Lord” Luke 2: 10-12.
“For to us a child is born; to us a Son is given, and the Government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9: 6.
“For God SO loved the World that he gave his One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him should be saved ” John 3: 16.
Some in the world—no, many in the world—have little or nothing at Christmas. But if they have Jesus Christ, walking alongside, what they have is not only enough to make Christmas worth celebrating—it is everything.
Because celebrating Christmas with Jesus plus all the traditional delights of the season means no more than passing a quiet Christmas with Jesus alone. But celebrating Christmas amidst everything holly, jolly and rich—with no Jesus—is abject poverty.
I picture you at Christmas. I picture how God sees you: loved, invited, affirmed and embraced. I picture you knowing you are never alone. Knowing you can accept his best, all because of the amazing grace offered by Jesus Christ. Immanuel. God with us.
Do you see what I see? Downy child in a cattle-shed. Babe still sticky with his mother’s blood. Seed of heaven, Abba-blown to a planet infinitesimally small. Colossal king in a newborn frame. Government on his shoulders.
He is all.“Thanks be to God for his indescribable Gift,” 2 Corinthians 9: 15
Merry Christmas, everyone.
This column ran the week of Christmas in numerous Western newspapers, and here.