We are in the middle of Advent, the time of preparation for Christmas. The time of anticipation. We remember the line of people, back to the beginning, as they waited for the promised Messiah, we remember and we wait, we wait for that glorious morning, that Christmas morning where we celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ, where we remember that day where God took on the flesh of man, and came down to this dirty messed up world, to walk out His perfect life and die His sacrificial death that conquers sin, and rise again from the dead to conquer death.
Christmas can be a hard time, even for the most balanced and blessed of folks. We all have those Norman Rockwell paintings in our heads, those ideas of the perfect Christmas and we labor hard at bringing about such a holiday in our own homes, and more often than not our plans are thwarted. Imperfect people, ourselves, our families, our situations, all come against our plans and we feel like failures. We or someone, or something, has ruined Christmas.
I propose a different approach this year. I propose that instead of setting our eyes on that perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas, let us instead set our eyes on seeing why Jesus came...did He come that we might have our homes decorated perfectly, that we might rise on Christmas morning in our perfect Christmas pajamas, that we might gather around our perfect Christmas trees and open our perfect presents, all while our children and family members and pets behave in the most perfect Christmas manner? Did He come that the Christmas goose might be perfectly baked and the Christmas table set in the most spectacular Christmas manner, did He come that we might have carolers outside our door on Christmas Eve while a perfect gentle snow falls?...Did He come for these reasons listed?
Or did He come for these?
He came to conquer death, it does not have to be the end of things anymore. We miss those who have gone from us, but we hold fast to the knowledge that we will see them again.
He came for the downtrodden. He came for the lost, the broken, the sick, the messed up, He came to destroy death and sin, to give us light and hope, to enable us to rise above the conditions we face here on this earth and live above them. He came to bring peace and goodwill. He came to set us free.
Our house will be no Norman Rockwell painting this year, but it will be a place of hope, we will rise on Christmas morning, bruised but hopeful, for the Christ child was born, some 2000 years ago, in a tiny Bethlehem stable, and He grew to be a man, a perfect man, He healed the sick, set free the captives and lived approximately 33 years, keeping the law of God perfectly, and on the real black Friday, He carried an instrument of torture to a hilltop above Jerusalem, whereby he allowed a lost and broken people to nail him to that rough wood, after having beaten him and abused him, and lift Him up for all to see......Jesus..the King of the Jews....and after a time, He gave up His life, with a victorious cry of "It is Finished", and the veil that separated the holy of holies, the place where none but the high priest was allowed to go, the place where God dwelt, was torn from top to bottom, and we were allowed the right to enter in.
And that my friends is Christmas, hope for a broken people, deliverance from sin and death and disease and war and hate and ugliness.
It Ain't no Norman Rockwell painting......it is far more beautiful, far more complex, far more wondrous.
So if things aren't perfect this Christmas, instead of allowing that fact to make you think yourself a failure, or to depress you into thinking your Christmas is not as it should be, look to Jesus, look to the end not the now. The promised One has come, and He accomplished all that He set out to accomplish.
Jesus Christ, the only Reason for the season.....I hope you know Him, I pray You come to know Him.