December 14, 2012

God with Us

Almost exactly two years ago, I posted this and today it seems fitting to revisit it:

Christmas. Even the word "Christmas" makes us think of cheer, of wonder, of festivities and fun. Yet, for so many it will carry such sorrow, and heavy hearts will sit under lit up trees. There are many reasons that hearts will be heavy each year, but this year I think of the two families I know that between Thanksgiving time and now have each lost a son. One was 12, one just a baby. I can feel the shattering of their hearts into so many little pieces. And, my heart is broken...again.

Sorrow, pain, death, imperfection: our world is so full of it. I sit at a funeral watching a mom look at her 12 year old son's casket, and I remember. I watch the scene that should never be, dad and mom following their lifeless child out of the sanctuary and I know what it is like to go home. It all seems so wrong. The email that the baby won't make it through the night, and he doesn't. And hopes, dreams, lives crumble. These pictures of death happen all over the world, every day. Because our world is fallen, imperfect, not as God intended it to be.

As I sat at that funeral, and watched mom and dad follow their son's casket out, reaching up high behind them were risers in the shape of a giant Christmas tree and it was all lit up. This scene is etched clearly in my mind because as I watched this family and their shattered world, I was reminded. That tree in all its shining wonder reminded me what this season represents. Even as so many will wade through dark waters this Christmas, they do not have to do it without HOPE. God did not turn His back on our imperfect world. He left perfection and entered into our hurt with us. He came to us and brought hope all wrapped up in the form of a tiny baby. "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us." He came to us and offers a way to be with him forever, promising that one day he will dry all the tears and heal all the broken hearts. We are not alone, and this life is not all there is. God with us. Hope.

Please pray for these two families and that they could experience the hope of Christ during these difficult times.

Since that Christmas of 2010, we went through another Christmas surrounded by hurting people and now in 2012 this one is no different. Today another unthinkable tragedy has struck out East and everyone is left wondering "Who could do such a thing to children?" And, "How will these familes move forward?" And, "Why did it happen?" And the truth is, there are no easy answers to those difficult questions. And THIS is why we celebrate Christmas. We celebrate to remember - God with us.

If you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ, then all the terrible things taking place should not leave is in fear or disheartened. God tells us over and over and over in His Word not to fear. John 16:33 tells us to take heart because He has overcome the world (and that includes all the evil in it). The hard things should drive us deeper into His Word so we can know more of Him. They should also lead us to tell others of the hope that we have because God not only came to be with us, but make a way for us to be with Him. I Peter 3:15 says to always be ready to give an answer to others about the hope you have.

If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ there is no better time than now. He is the only one in whom you will ever find real hope and peace. Check out this link and it will walk you through what Jesus did for you and how you can respond.

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