Here I sit on Christmas Eve. Jude is off with his dad, and I am doing fun things like laundry. The quiet is nice in the sense I get to sit and blog, which I just haven't had time for this week. I've been trying to think of how on earth to say all that's on my heart this time of year, but it's always so hard for me to express what Christmas means.
Yesterday, I went to church and was tearing up numerous times over just the reality of Christmas. I try to wrap my head around what it must have been like to live prior to Christ's birth. The ache of knowing you absolutely can't save yourself and when oh when will the Messiah come and save you from yourself. I wonder what it was like to try to know God before the veil was torn. How frustrating to crave that relationship, but know you could only get so far. And the joy that it would have been to be present that first Christmas and know that the angst, the wait, the longing was all over. And there He was. Emmanuel. God is with us. The reality of those words is so profound.
I've mentioned before when I wrote Lover of My Soul how intimately I've come to know Jesus since my divorce in summer of 2010. I actually wrote a blog article about this at one point one Christmas right after, but I just can't find it. Anyway, the fact that God is now intimately with us is a gift that came with Christmas. Prior to that, there was so much seperation. Not eternally, but relationally. I love how Christmas reminds me to stop and think how blessed I am to be born at this point in history where I can come to God and know him so intimately. How I can feel my very soul breathed to life each day as He just fills me. The feeling of knowing you are surrounded by the Holy Spirit and you can't help by cry for the joy and beauty of it all. There are no words, I just know that it is the most achingly beautiful thing.
There has been so much death and disappointment and sadness this Christmas it's seemed. More than any other. I've heard of more child deaths close to my own life that ever before. And that doesn't take into account the tragedy in Connecticut. It's interesting. Salvation began with the birth of a child. Right now we are in the time of grace where people are being called and hopefully responding to Christ. Responding to the birth of that child so long ago. The hope, and isn't the birth of a child always filled with hope? And the death of a child brings the death of the hope. Yet with this child, he was born to die. Because without his death, there wouldn't have been hope.
I'm amazed at how the gospel is so present in Christmas. The willingness of people to display the nativity. The way Christmas carols blatantly call the listener to ponder just what child is this and how the king of kings salvation brings. My heart aches for all the millions of people who sing along with the radio stations and Bing Crosby and the truth is right there staring at them. And yet there is no room for that baby in their life. Salvation is there beckoning at this time of year more than any other. Yet we get so focused on gift giving, we miss it.
When the tragedies happen so close to Christmas, they seem to be magnified in their hurt and pain. At Christmas, it's like we all know that this is not our home and we don't belong here. We hope to experience the joy and magic of childlike faith in things like Santa again. Yet that childlike faith is available to us all. But not in Santa- in Jesus. When I think about Christmas this year, all I can think is 'Maranatha- come Lord Jesus'. Yet, I am thankful for the continuing period of grace. I pray that this Christmas brings a revival in the hearts of all. That the Holy Spirit will speak to hearts all over the world and remind them there really is more. This childlike joy and wonder is real. Seek the child. Find the joy. May you find the joy of Emmanuel God with us this Christmas.