The Christmas cards I sent out this year read, “Christmas Wishes…the warmth of home, the love of family and the company of friends. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.”
Yet, I am fully aware that there are many people, some in my own family even, who will not be enjoying the warmth of a home this Christmas. There are also those among us who do not have a loving family or even good friends to celebrate the holidays with. The reality is that some people feel quite alone in this world, and for these precious souls Christmas can be a difficult time of year.
Yet, Christmas was never meant to be about those things. Modern consumerism has morphed it into a Norman Rockwell fantasy of sweetness and harmony that is a far cry from many people’s realities. The good news is that the early Christians did not come from white, middle-class families with nary a care in the world – and neither did Jesus.
In fact, many of them were outcasts and loners, struggling for belonging. Jesus came to demonstrate by his actions that the God who created us in his image loves us immeasurably. He came to show us that we each have extraordinary value and are, in fact, NOT forgotten and NOT alone.
I love how Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message. “In his son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all…If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?” [Romans 8:3 & 8:32].
The Apostle Paul did not write this only for some distant other group of people. He wrote it also for the “us” walking around on the planet Earth in 2014. It is Paul’s Christmas card to you, whom Christ loves! Read it aloud, inserting your name in place of the word “us”. Make it personal, because it is personal.
No matter what your present circumstances may be regarding home, family, and friends, I pray that you will experience God’s unrelenting love specifically for you. As you do, I pray that it will bring Joy to Your World this Christmas and every single day to follow. For herein lies the real message of Christmas… God is good and you, my friend, are most assuredly loved!!!