I know a lot of people who have gone through some very difficult times this year–losing loved ones; and many have lost their homes. This morning I read a devotional by Gwen Ford Faulkenberry that I want to share with you. My hope is that whatever pain you are experiencing this Christmas season, that this will give you hope.
One day in my office, as I was wrapping up classes for Christmas break, I received an email from an old friend. She mentioned it had been a rough week. Her loved one was one of the Marines murdered in Tennessee, and just now she had finally gotten news of the autopsy report. This slashed open her wound, adding more trauma to a hurt that already seemed impossible to heal. “The holiday should be joy,” she wrote, “but all I want to do is cry.”
I searched for the right words, a way to respond that might bring some comfort. But I found nothing. I started to spiral down into the darkness, all the junk in the world, the pain we humans inflict on one another, the mess it all is. I cried when I thought about my friend’s family huddled together to try to have Christmas. And then, through my tears, it began to dawn on me. This is what Christmas means.
I wrote to my friend: “If ever there was a picture of our need for a Savior, for the hope that was born into the mess, the poverty, the pain of our lives, surely this is it. “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matt. 1:23)
I imagined her family gathered for Christmas with Jesus in the middle of them, because He will be. He is Emmanuel. God with us. Jesus here. Not a waving a wand that makes the bad stuff go away. Not a crutch for the weak-minded. But a Savior Who comes to us in our mess. That’s what Christmas is! “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom. 5:5)