STOP AND THINK
Do you ever wish that the holidays would just hurry up and pass on by? If you do, then you’re not alone. On the other hand, if post-Thanksgiving is your “season” and all the food, festivities and family gatherings energize you, will you take time to see things from a different perspective this year? Remember there are those who aren’t as excited about the “most wonderful time of the year” as you are. This group struggles to find the joy of the season and they are all around us.
Here are a few things I hope you’ll remember this Christmas season ...
First, their “Bah humbug!” shouldn’t be taken personally. Sometimes there is something deeper. I’ve been taught when I’m caught off guard by someone’s unexpected response to simply ask, “Tell me more.” or “Tell me why.” Ask. Then listen. If they want to talk, they will. If they aren’t up for a conversation, remember some people can’t vocalize what they’re feeling and that’s OK too. Remember to give them space and extend grace.
Secondly, remember that people are at different stages of life and you never know what the past 11 months have thrown their way. This could be their first Christmas without a loved one that has passed away or they could be miles away from a family member for the first time, wishing they were still together. They could be between jobs. They might be struggling with an illness. They could even be ashamed that they want to buy you something or pay for your meal, but don’t have the means to do so. Honestly, they may just be an introvert. And there are those who may not believe what you believe. So, just because someone isn’t “merry and bright,” doesn’t mean that they hate you and your favorite season.
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
For followers of Christ, Jesus is the reason for the season. Now, obviously I’m not telling you anything you haven’t already heard before, but can I invite you to lean in, open your mind and heart and keep reading?
As a man for whom Christ died, I believe that Jesus came to save all mankind – there is no one so far that the hand of God can’t reach and redeem them. Jesus came without pomp and circumstance. He came as a lowly babe, wrapped in cloths and laid in a feeding trough – a place where animals had probably come hours before for a drink or something to eat. What a picture of who Jesus is! He is the bread of life and living water for all those who hunger and thirst. His birth was a humble birth. It was also a miracle and gift from God to all mankind. Christ’s arrival is worthy to be celebrated, then and now, but thank God the story doesn’t stop there.
Jesus knew his purpose. His purpose was you.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
Recently, one morning as I was reading my Bible, I was reminded of a truth that sparked me to share these thoughts.
The Apostle John gives us a wonderful picture of Jesus’s humanness while he was on His earthly journey. In John Chapter 11, as Jesus is surrounded by his friends after the death of their friend Lazarus we read, “… Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled … Jesus wept.”
Friends, this Christmas if you are weeping, you don’t weep alone. Jesus weeps with you.
What a blessing John’s Gospel is to us some 2,000 years later. Your Savior is one who can sympathize with you. He knows pain. He knows suffering. He knows loss. Rest in those facts. Take comfort in those truths. Find hope to go on because Jesus knows and Jesus cares.
More than 700 years before Christ, the Prophet Isaiah spoke these words, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’).”
This Christmas, remind yourself that you’re not just celebrating a baby, but the entire story of our Savior who came on a specific mission, which was to save you and me! Remember that not only can Jesus understand your pain – He felt pain in the death of this friend, Lazarus, and He endured the suffering of the cross – but His very name points to the fact that He is with us. Look to Jesus this Christmas season to find hope and rest in the One Person who can perfectly understand all that you have or are currently going through. He is with us!
Simple suggestions to help those around you who may be struggling through the holidays this year.