It's Christmas, a time of joy and gladness
More than one person has asked, "How can we have Christmas at a time like this?"
The truth is, Christmas is exactly what we need at a time like this.
Think how the lights and the familiar songs lift our spirits. Even the silly songs make us smile.
John 1:5 seems written for this moment:
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
That's the ESV translation. The NIV reads, "and the darkness has not understood it." Bible scholars say either translation of the original Greek is correct and either one fits our time.
At that first Christmas--and they had darkness at that time, too--the Light of the world came to earth.
Then, as now, the people lived with evil. The Roman forces occupying their land were not known for their T.L.C. Emperor Caesar Augustus ruled with a heavy hand. When he decreed that everyone must go to their place of family origin to be counted, no one dared refuse.
Not even a woman named Mary, who was almost ready to give birth and would have to walk or ride a donkey for 70 miles.
The decree of the Emperor brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, the City of David, that night.
Or did it?
Seven hundred years earlier the prophet Micah foretold the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)
It was by God's design that Mary and Joseph were in that town, on that night when God's Son was to be born. (The most familiar Christmas Gospel is Luke 2:1-20.)
Joseph and Mary named Him Jesus, because that's what the angel of the Lord instructed. (Matthew 1:18-24)
Years later Jesus said:
"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness."
Jesus is joy and hope, whatever the situation. We can count on that, no matter what comes.
If joy depends on our circumstances, it's an iffy thing.
If hope depends on our lives being trouble-free, it rests on a shaky perch.
Christmas is all about remembering and resettling our hearts on timeless Truth. God sent His only Son for exactly a time like this, so we could look beyond our fears. Our griefs. Our immediate needs.
Because if we get stuck in these we will never look up.
Then the darkness will win.
Christmas restores our minds and hearts to true north on the compass of life
Christmas reminds us who we are and who He is. He is joy, peace and hope.
Because we belong to Him, His Spirit lives in our hearts. Therefore, we can make it through each day.
Because we belong to Him we can speak His peace to troubled hearts and reassure frightened children. We cannot give away what we do not have.
Because we belong to Him we can mean it when we say, "Merry Christmas."
And I do.
My love and peace to you, Gentle Reader, at Christmas and always. Thanks for taking time out of your busy life to stop by.
Have a Merry, Blessed Christ-mas!