This holiday season has caught me by surprise. In the past I haven’t struggled to find joy in the normal things – the music, the laughter, the light on my children’s faces. For some reason, though, this Christmas I found myself more than typically wishing for and wondering what could have been. I even wrestled with anger over past hurts and allowed myself to sink deep in sadness over the loved ones I have had to say good-bye to far earlier than I ever would have imagined.
I have placed my trust and belief in God who says he is all-knowing (omniscient) and all-present (omnipresent). To believe that a sovereign God loves me yet allows heartbreak and injustice to happen in the world is truly one of the biggest mysteries of God. To wrestle with my own insecurities and feelings of unworthiness were easier this holiday season than they should have been having known in my heart what Christmas as a Christian is supposed to represent.
Jesus is the not the reason for the season. He is the reason for every single day of my life.
What conviction! Oh how easy it is to put my focus on Christ for short amounts of time – at Christmas and at Easter. That’s not too much to give up. Yes, it is hard to understand why awful things happen in this world especially to those who are so undeserving. But then I am reminded of one of the biggest injustices of all – a parent losing a child.
God, my Father in Heaven, gave up his only son to die for everyone in this world – those our society would consider deserving AND those our society would consider undeserving. Truth is no one is deserving of the true gift of Christmas. But this is not how God sees it. He loved the world so much that he sent his son to be born, to live among us, to die, and then to be raised from the dead. That last part is hard for many to believe but without that piece of the story I wouldn't have the promise that one day I would be united with my loved ones in Heaven. But more importantly than that, having known Christ defeated death I now can believe that one day I will see the actual face of my Savior - the One who died for me. This was all part of God’s beautiful and loving plan for all of us, not just me, so that those who believed in Jesus and lived their lives according to their belief in him could spend eternity with him in Heaven.
I am so thankful the Lord used my loss of focus and sense of distraction this holiday season to remind me that my attention needs to be on him every day, not just twice a year. I am thankful, too, that in the pulling away I remembered how much I needed his nearness.
How about you? Could it be that in your pulling away the Lord is simply trying to remind you of your need for him? In our frustration we like to think God has forgotten us or maybe even forsaken us when sometimes he just wants to remind us of the importance of his presence. The gift of Christmas is meant to be unwrapped every day, but just like a tangible gift cannot open itself nor can the gift of the Holy Spirit do its work in your life without you doing your part. You must seek after it. Run after it if you must. His word promises - draw close to him and he will draw near to you. No one is a friend like Jesus.
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” –Romans 10:13