December 7, 2011

Christmas Interrupted? No, Christmas for Real.

Yesterday sadness threatened the "Christmas cheer."  We received news of miscarriages from two couples, a total of three babies gone to be with the Lord.  My heart grieves with my friends as they walk through this encounter with the shadow of death during a time when, at least the songs tell you, everyone's chugging down cups of cheer and enjoying the delightful hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.

Prayer had me reflecting on how perfect a time Christmas is to be thinking about death.  Jesus, coming into the world to save His people from their sins, with a mission to see God's plan to its end - hanging on a tree to die, despised, rejected ... that we might have life.  In times of sorrow, what blessed assurance it is to look to our Father who knows grief and to cling to our Savior who entered into this world gone wrong in sin and death, pain and sorrow.  We can pray for our friends with confidence because we know the foundation of Christmas is unshakable Truth: God the Father, Son, and Spirit working out their plan to rescue mankind and one day make all things new.  We can grieve with our friends because Christmas reminds us that God knows that "it's just not right" for little babies to go to Him before we even get to meet them, for the old to waste away in hospital beds while death slowly consumes them, for disease to ravage bodies and rob them of their strength and, ultimately, breath.

At Christmas, God, in the person of Christ, became flesh and dwelt among us, experiencing all of life from birth to death, to satisfy God's wrath and express the depth of His love for His creation.

You, too, may find that this Christmas season is not full of cheer.  Perhaps pain, sorrow, or grief is threatening to crush you and others' smiles simply drive the knife deeper into your aching soul.  Turn to the loving embrace of our gracious, understanding, and tender Father.  He offers not empty cheer, but real hope and lasting joy that won't gloss over the painful reality of life this side of heaven and will see you through to the end.

May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13  

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