I want to hibernate. I don’t know why the whole world doesn’t just agree to shut the heck down in the wintertime. But I guess this hot chocolate ain’t gonna drink itself, amirite?
I do love Christmas. Our elf, Kevin, is back and he is one lazy momo fofo. I’ve made enough Oreo balls to choke a moose (that’s a thing, right?) and we’ve got a tree up and already surrounded by presents. The holidays are in full swing despite the deplorable weather conditions (when the temperature drops below 60 degrees).
I know most of us can’t help but like the Christmas Jesus best, with or without the golden fleece diapers. I gotta say: there’s not one thing about the Christmas story I don’t love: the starry night, the angels, the shepherds; the anticipation, the joy; and the miracle of baby Jesus Himself.
But I sometimes get a vision–a flash-forward–of a beaten, bloody, innocent man hanging on a cross, surrounded by people who mocked him, who were happy to see him suffer, who wanted him to die.
Such a buzzkill.
But really. God’s own Son–is there anything decent on this planet that doesn’t get wrecked?
Wars, terrorists, orphans, refugees, mass shootings, home invasions, adultery, divorce, disease, starvation, death death death plus a little destruction–it’s enough to make me want to shrivel up and die.
And the world (church people included) will tell you that the answer to all this pain (or even potential pain) is hardness. Shut and lock your doors. Keep out anything or anyone that could possibly hurt you in any way, shape, or form. Rules, legislation; carefully constructed community bubbles and a whole lot of cynicism.
And there’s nothing wrong with good common sense. But the more I think about the Christmas Jesus, the more I think about love and hope–and the more I think about the Easter Jesus, the more I think about sacrifice and forgiveness, and more love, and more hope.
There is no grown person who hasn’t been hurt. People can be cruel. Sin can be crushing. The bad can far outweigh the good in many situations. There is nothing perfect that can’t be ruined–but to be able to live and believe in love in spite of everything the world can (and will) throw at you?
That is why I choose Christ.
Because Jesus remained pure. He healed the sick and defended the weak. He gave when He had nothing. He loved people who wanted to kill him. He forgave the unforgivable. He made it to where sin could not keep us down. He saw the very face of Satan and He knew how He would be betrayed–yet He stayed strong and He still loved.
And the world needs that, now more than ever.
Don’t let the rush of the season make you crazy. Don’t let hard things make you hard. Don’t let hateful people make you hate. Don’t let darkness make you afraid. And don’t let your doubts keep you from believing.
For my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel. –Luke 2:30-32