(THIS IS NOT A DIET MESSAGE, I PROMISE!)
Today, as I watched people hustling about at the outdoor mall, I had the sense that many were scurrying around Christmas shopping just to hide pain and pressure. Somehow just walking into stores and browsing seems to dull the ache and memories. I am writing, today, to all those who are having trouble with the holidays because every Christmas reminds you of a wound you have experienced or a pain you remember from childhood or you are on stress overload. You look at all the pictures posted on facebook, instagram and all forms of media and conclude that life is good for everyone but you. You dream of a life depicted by social media but decide that for you, it is going to be another season of battling through loneliness and heartbreak. You may have lost your job, your family has been broken and/or you are all alone. Quite possibly you took a run through the drive through coffee shop or ate a sugar cookie just to try and numb the pain. However, after several cups of caffeine and a sugar cookie high, you feel more distraught than ever.
If you fit any of these categories,
I have a word for you today.
Christmas is NOT about the things you see, touch or feel. Christmas is not about trees, lights and peppermint. It is not about shopping, friends or even family.
The Christmas season is highlighted to announce and remind us of a Savior who came to bring hope and salvation to all nations. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the lonely and brokenhearted. Jesus is the Savior of the downtrodden and hopeless. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world who came and continually comes to bring JOY to all mankind. I am not talking about the joy that we experience in a moment of family fun, or laughter or even the joy of a new born, but rather a joy that comes from deep within at the knowledge of the ONE who gave everything for us.
It says in John 1:26-26, “I baptize in this river, but the One who will take my place is to be more honored than I, but even when he stands among you, you will not recognize or embrace him! I am not worthy enough to stoop down in front of him and untie his sandals!” This all took place at Bethany, where John was baptizing at the place of the crossing of the Jordan River. (Passion)
John baptized at the Jordan announcing a new era for Israel. This place of crossing is likely where the children of Israel crossed into the Promised Land when the Jordan River parted and they passed through on dry land. (Joshua 3) This place became a powerful reminder of crossing over into a new day, a new era for Israel. This was the place chosen by God for John to baptize. As the Lamb of God, Jesus was publicly washed and proven to be without flaw or blemish, ready to become the sacrifice for all the world. Although he would become the Lion of the Tribe of Judah in resurrection power, John points to him as the meek Lamb, a willing sacrifice for our sins. (Passion) Today, right now, grab unto the fact that this can be a new crossing over season for you, a crossing over into the internal joy of knowing Christ in an intimate way.
Christmas points to the One, the Lamb of God, and the only one who can bring true joy. Happiness in this world is fleeting but joy always comes from within at the knowledge of what He did for us and continues to do everyday as we look to Him to take the sorrow, the pain, and to bring the prodigals home. It is the joy that knowing that one day, all sorrow will pass and you will enter into eternity truly hearing the angelic song of the Lord, “Worthy is the Lamb!”
Today, as you look away from yourself and to Him, you will sense the real joy of Christmas begin to fill your heart and soul. As you focus on His goodness, the presence of the Father will fill your heart. Most importantly, as you learn to trust Him in all things, true joy will manifest in your heart. After all, He is the best dad in all of heaven and earth and we are certainly His kids. Daddy, thank you for Jesus. You really do love us!
Put away the sugar cookie, the wasted time trying to run from pain, grab a cup of hot chocolate and sit with the One who will bring peace to your heart. The Prince of Peace has come to the earth and sits right there with you today. Offer Him your heart, your stress and your hurt. The comforter has come!