December 30, 2010

Why We Need Christmas

Throughout the Christmas season I have been thinking a lot about the Trainer family.  I met Mark at camp in high school and he went to my senior prom with me.  We recently reconnected on Facebook where I learned that his youngest child, only about six months older than our Brian, was battling a serious form of cancer.  I started following her/their story, written mostly by Mark's wife, Shauna, on

Sweet Hailey died in November.

My heart broke for them.

I have kept reading Shauna's posts at CaringBridge and it has been a blessing to me this Advent and Christmastime.  (Thanks, Shauna!)  Reading about their joys and sorrows during and since Hailey's death has reminded me why we celebrate at Christmas.

This world is a mess and God entered in!  He took on flesh; He walked our roads; He endured the sins of others; He showed us what God is like; He bore the penalty for the sins of man.  Christmas brought good tidings of GREAT JOY because the Savior was born.  All of the waiting was worth it.  The faithful looked upon the face of their Savior and rejoiced.  Mary pondered all of these things in her heart.

Christmas reminds us that God has not abandoned His world or His people.  He knew and knows our deepest need - to be rescued from sin - and He made it possible by the only means, becoming the sacrifice Himself.

In grief, though we feel we cannot go on, Christmas reminds us that God is near; He has a plan; He fulfills His promises; He will come again.  We may not know why God allows things to happen or does not answer our fervently prayed prayers.  But He is still God, and as our Loving Father, he can tenderly bear us through our griefs and trials.

I've never been as thankful for Christmas as this year.

Last night we learned that the father of a high school friend of Colin's died of a heart attack a few days ago.

More grief.  More death.  More pain.  More sorrow.

As we pray for this friend and his family (they lost their mom as well, not too many years ago) I have to think about heaven.  I have to think about my God, His promises, and  lean not on my own understanding, but trust in the LORD with all my heart.

He is no "grab yourself a cup of cheer" God.  There's no need to feign happiness when your heart is aching.  The pain in this world is real as real can be.  But the Christian knows he has a God who suffered, even unto death on the cross.  He knows our pain; He grieves with us; He holds us close and never lets go.  THIS is the hope of Christmas.  God entered in, and then He promised to come again, once and for all one day.  It is good news.

Come, Lord Jesus.


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