This devotion was first published December 10, 2008, but has so much relevance to a hurting world today with a struggling economy and so many people who have lost their jobs. Be blessed!
How do you feel this Christmas?
The past two weeks I have talked to so many heartbroken people.
Mary......whose extended family lost eight homes during the flood of 2008. As I held her, she cried on my shoulder, telling me how difficult this Christmas is. Not only is she frustrated that so much of her family is displaced, but also that her mother has Alzheimer's and doesn't recognize her anymore.
Jamie.... a sweet Sister in Christ, a member of my small group bible study. She is in her early thirties with adorable 2 year old triplets. Jamie has bravely been fighting cancer for the past year and a half. It has spread to her liver. As I write this now, I am expecting news today or tomorrow that she has gone Home to be with Jesus. Talking to her mother yesterday, asking her what our group can do to help, she sighed, saying, "I don't know. I have never been through this before."
Linda...... called telling me that her father just passed away. He, too, lost a battle with cancer. My sweet sister- in- law, grieving the loss of her dad, was also worried because she has a ruptured disc in her back, with shooting pain down her leg. She doesn't know if she will be able to fly to her dad's state for services.
I am sure you have your own Mary, Jamie and Linda in your life.
As I prayed over these sweet souls, I became so aware of the hurting hearts all around me. I have heard the statistics of Christmas suicides. I wondered why this time of year can be so depressing for many.
When a hurting heart watches holiday TV programs and commercials, the families are smiling around a dinner table...everyone happy. She can think she is the only one who feels alone....the only one who feels sad...who feels...let down about Christmas.....who wonders, "Is this all there is?" She shops (but cannot afford to), trying to buy all of the items that are promised to bring happiness.
Have we forgotten what Christmas is about?
Christmas is HOPE because Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to bring hope. Immanuel, God is With Us. He knows our hearts. He knows our worries. He knows our loneliness. He wants to comfort, heal, and bring peace.
Jesus is the Light of the World. Jesus brings Light to this dark world. And, He wants us, as Christ followers, to share this Light with the world. He wants us to share this Hope to the hurting....to the confused....to the lonely.
Jesus never promised that we would live a pain free life here on earth. In fact, He tells us the opposite. "In this life, you will have trouble..." But, Jesus also gives hope because He continues by saying, "But take heart, I have overcome the world."
This world is not our home. We have an incredible, glorious inheritance that can never perish, a living hope, joy unspeakable, everlasting life when we return Home to live forever with our Savior. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him". We can't even imagine what God has stored up for us.
And, while we live our lives here on earth, we are promised LIFE and life to the full. We are promised that He is walking with us, bringing us comfort, peace, and joy....true joy that is not dependent on circumstances, but comes from the hope we have in Him.
This Christmas, be a Light. This Christmas, extend your hand of hope to a hurting heart. This Christmas, like Mary, sit at the feet of Jesus, basking in His love, peace, and hope.