It seems out of place, almost insensitive, to turn our hearts towards the celebration of Christmas when our world is so wounded and countless are hurting. The last couple of years have been challenging for everyone, everywhere, in numerous ways. Much in our world is so achingly broken, many have lost family members, jobs and we have been rocked with change and the unsure. The political situations, though they vary from country to country, have been wrought with tensions. People are quickly argumentative, passionate about their views, ready to take on any who oppose and many from the deep place of anger, fear and hurt at the injustices and heartbreaking cruelties they or those they love have faced, others because shouting the loudest seems the only true way to show value and empathy. There is a true exhaustion from conflict, from too much information, from trying to make the best decisions without causing offense, from wading through the endless opinions…
What then the whisper of “good news of great joy, which shall be to all men”? Is it for all men? It seems misplaced and unkind and truly insensitive to speak of hope, goodwill and joy in the face of such struggle and grief.
Oh, but my friends, this is truly the reality of Christmas – when Jesus came into the world, it was at a time of political unrest, injustice, great hardship and sorrow. God had been silent for so long. Many had lost hope. The exhaustion from oppression was real.
But then, piercing the darkness came the Light – the glorious beam of hope!
From that day until our present day, the answer never was and never will be governments, human strength or ability – no, that has never been where our hope should be placed, for then hopelessness would indeed be our only choice.
The answer is Emmanuel – God is with us. “In all our trials, He’s born to be our Friend.” The Friend of the weary, the broken, the unsure, the forgotten, the despairing, the fallen, the stranger, the angry. He came to walk the path we take. He came to enter the reality of our world so He could understand, so He could provide the final and only Way back to God. This is what we celebrate in this season! This is the bedrock of Truth that we stand on, even in the turbulence of the last couple of years – Christ has come as the Light to pierce and overcome the darkness.
So yes, with all the brokenness and pain, with all tensions and confusing rhetoric, against the backdrop of sorrow and grief, with hearts of confident faith, we turn once again to raise our anthem of hope, of peace on earth, of joy to the world – for He is real and He is with us… and HE IS ENOUGH.
Be encouraged today – even this year, we have as much reason as we ever did to rejoice! The state of our world only reminds us of our need for a Savior in us, to work through us, to make a change around us. The hope and healing, the calm and peace, the answer and joy that everyone so desperately needs – His Name is Jesus. And Jesus has come! The Savior of the world is here!
“Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we! Let all within us praise His holy Name!”
“Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on His way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on His way! He’ll save you!” – Isaiah 35:3-4
Prayer: Lord, our world has been rocked. Things have been turned upside down, the unknown has been intimidating and I have felt myself waver in peace and joy more than once. I have struggled with knowing what to say. I have struggled with even knowing what to think. But today, once again, I place my focus on You – You are the answer that the world, my world, needs. You are the hope. You are the Rock on which I stand. Thank You for coming into our broken, confusing, hurting reality. Thank You for making the way for us back to God. Renew in me the assurance that only comes from You. You are here. You are my Emmanuel. Let that be the song in my heart and the proclamation of my lips – Hope is here! Strength is here! The Answer is here! Amen.