Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas is for Everyone

     The snow is gently falling. I sit on the sofa in my very clean living room (even the carpet has been freshly steamed), with a pile of beautifully wrapped gifts sitting under my coordinating tree. My children sit at the table putting together adorable gingerbread trains, writing things like "Jesus is born" and "Peace on Earth" on them, while talking about how angels brought the good news to the shepherds. My favorite carols play in the background, and I sip the coffee my sweet husband brought me as a surprise. I think about the lovely lunch I just had with my extended family and I sigh with contentment as I look forward to sharing dinner and laughter with them later that evening. It really is the perfect Christmas Eve...

   No, this is not a dream. It really is how Christmas Eve went down this year. Pretty perfect, right? It might not be your ideal Christmas, but it still sounds pretty sweet. Now, don't worry-I don't share all this to make you jealous. I really do appreciate this Christmas wonder, but in a large part that is because I have had so many Christmases that were, shall we say, not quite as photo-worthy. Like the ones where my husband was deployed to a war zone. Or the one where my niece laying dying in the hospital awaiting a heart transplant. Or the ones where my entire family was sick-everyone restricted to their bed or the bathroom (if you know what I mean). Ones where I was separated from friends and family, because of life or my own selfishness. Ones where I was sad and lonely-or even afraid. 

   Which got me to thinking: does Christmas "mean" more to me on the years when everything goes just right? When my plans actually come to fruition and everything isn't a haze of stress and hurry? Or does it mean more when I am floundering, incapable of completing any tasks due to my overwhelming circumstances? Does it? Should it?

    And then I realized something-Christmas, as in Christ's birth, is awesome, miraculous and awe-inspiring no matter where I am, or how I am. Christmas, WHEN GOD CAME TO EARTH (yes, I am shouting now) should be amazing whatever life looks like. And it can be. Consider that:

The shepherds were poor, and consumed by the tasks of everyday life.
Jesus came for them.
Mary and Joseph had been hurtled into a strange and unknown situation, one they were completely unable to control.
Jesus came for them.

The wise men were at the top of their game, abounding in riches and knowledge.
Jesus came for them.

The people of Bethlehem were completely unaware (and unprepared).
Jesus came for them.

Herod was consumed by sin and the desire for power. 
Jesus came for him.

The Romans were enjoying prosperity and prestige.
Jesus came for them.

The innkeeper was harried and hurried, stressed and overwhelmed.
Jesus came for him.

Anna and Simeon were watching and praying. They were nearing the end of their earthly lives.
Jesus came for them.

   “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that EVERYONE who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (HCSB)

   This might be the worst Christmas of your life. You may be suffering, struggling, barely hanging on. Jesus came for you. This might be the best Christmas of your life. Perfect job, wonderful family, amazing life. Jesus came for you. This might be a run-of-the-mill Christmas. You might not remember it next month, much less next year, due to its boring normalcy. Jesus came for you.

JESUS CAME FOR EVERYONE.  Everyone means you.

    Christ's birth-the means for Him to come to earth to live, and then die for my sins, your sins, anyone's sins who trusts in Him, is what Christmas is all about. And no matter where your December 25th falls on the spectrum of perfection, Jesus came for you. I hope your Christmas is wonderful, and I know that it can be if you remember this: Christmas is for everyone. No matter what you are going through in life, Christmas is for you because Jesus is for you. And the very best part is that isn't limited to December 25th. It is for all year, every year.

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:31-35, 37-39 (NIV)
   Nothing on earth can separate you from the love Christ brought on that first Christmas, if you allow Him to be Lord of your life. Nothing you're going through can change the fact that Christmas is for you. And that makes it pretty darn awesome, no matter what. Merry Christmas!

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