Weary. That used to be my word for December. Yes, I know it doesn’t convey the true wonder of the season. But the days are hard and long, and by this time of year, I have 300-plus behind me. I just wish the year wouldn’t race past me and leave me feeling totally spent—and still coming up short.
The Gospel of John doesn’t tell the story of Jesus’ birth, but it tells us the prequel—the story that precedes what we are told in the birth narratives. This Gospel takes us back to the beginning, before our world existed, and tells us something about our Savior that was true well in advance of His earthly birth in Bethlehem two millennia ago. Understanding this part of the story is what brings clarity to who Jesus was, why He came, and what He accomplished.
The Christmas when I was six years old, I learned a poem titled “Where Jesus Was Born.” The poem tells the story of three boys who went to see Jesus. One was blind, another was deaf, and the third was lame. Despite their infirmities, they helped one another make their way to the manger where Jesus was born. Then God gave them a special Christmas present—He healed them.
A few Christmases ago, as I was standing in the doorway of a department store, enjoying a lovely Nativity scene in a store window, a mother and her little girl came hurrying by. Catching a glimpse of the beautiful scene, the child grabbed her mother’s hand and exclaimed, “Mama! Mama! Please let me stop for a minute and look at Jesus!” But her mother replied wearily that they weren’t even half through with their shopping list and didn’t have time to stop. Then she walked on, dragging her disappointed daughter behind her.
Sometimes it feels like the world is getting darker and colder all the time. When the sun sets, we look for some ray of hope.
That hope is here.
Christmas is “the season of joy” and “a time of cheer.” But as Christmas comes around, do you find yourself experiencing things far from joy and cheer?
If you look at each Christmas as needing to be bigger and better than the last, you’re probably anxiously filling up every moment with preparations toward that goal. But sometimes less is more.
I’ve been thinking how Christmas traditions vary not only from country to country, but from family to family.
The Bible tells us that we see through a glass darkly. This refers to our limited ability to grasp the full spiritual realities of heaven, but I believe that our limited perception also affects our ability to fully understand the hearts of others who we encounter here and now. We often fail to see others as Jesus sees them, as His beloved whom He would have paid any price for. He sees in them a beautiful spirit that He has created and He sees what they can become in Him.