Have you noticed that it’s snowing on my blog? I even have a new Christmas look for you. Cool huh?
All around me, everyone is getting ready for Christmas, and the excitement is building. Nevertheless, I’ve been surprised this year by the number of people I’ve encountered who aren’t looking forward to Christmas, and I’ve noticed that I too can swing between excited anticipation and jaded gloom in moments. I know that in any number of ways, Christmas may not live up to my own idealistic expectations.
Perhaps it will be family tensions around the Christmas table, financial worries, or just a rainy Christmas morning. And even if everything I’m hoping for is under the tree, and the Christmas services are joyful, and familial bliss lasts into the New Year; perhaps it will simply be the realisation that I’ve had in previous years that somehow, even a perfectly picturesque Christmas doesn’t have the power to satisfy completely. It’s not meant to.
At Christmas we celebrate the beginning of God’s rescue. (Although you could say that this starts way back in Genesis!)
10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11
I want to go more deeply into the heart of what Christmas is truly about. Because at its centre is someone not only powerful enough to overcome Christmas blues and supersede romantic ideals, but able to fit perfectly into our broken world, bringing powerful stirrings of redemption and renewal: Salvation. A long awaited rescue, and kingdom. Peace with God. An eternal future.
We are raised from the rubble of our sinful rebellion, and invited to live with the King of kings forever!
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9
These gifts are too certain and steadfast to be defeated by the symptoms of brokenness that we deal with day to day. They are unthreatened by hardships and disappointments, loneliness and pain.
And our Christmas celebrations really only herald the beginning. We look forward to Easter – in many ways the culmination of God’s plan, and still we look beyond the cross, beyond the resurrection even, with faith, waiting and groaning in anticipation for Jesus Christ to return for us, his people.
So if you’re feeling gloomy this Advent season, and if your Christmas day doesn’t quite measure up, may I remind you as I remind myself, that our foundation in Jesus Christ goes deeper and wider. Beyond December 25th, beyond the daily challenges of our broken world. And our rescue that starts in the manger ends much more gloriously. And we will be fully satisfied in our joy on that day!
In a similar vein, here is a wonderful video from Glen Scrivener: