It’s an exciting time of year. My little boys have been admiring the decorations put up in the shops and helped pick out decorations for our own tree. The older kids got excited about their end of year concert. Christmas shopping is upon us. I bought a food magazine full of delicious food options to search for some inspiration before Christmas day. My husband has big plans for a week off over the holiday period. I’ve been thinking about starting an “annual new year email” to all my friends who I can’t be with this year.
And all of us searched for and gave the perfect gifts that would give joy to those we love this Christmas.
Life was very busy and exciting all in preparation for a hopefully wonderful, relaxing, happy, love giving, Joy filled holiday spent with family and friends around delicious food in beautiful weather.
But during these preparations and celebrations my mind has been distracted. My heart has been aching. Because … more than Christmas is happening right now.
This month friends have once again had their homes under threat by fire. Others have lost everything they had. Some have lost their lives.
My friends in France are dealing with the shockwaves pulsing through their country after hundreds died in the Paris bombings. Others, thousands upon thousands, throughout all the world are suffering through wars, attacks and bombings. Some have left their homes with their families on the dangerous and uncertain journey across the world in search of peace.
The news last month was full of articles and information on domestic violence and abuse, for white ribbon day, because this issue is too close for all of us.
My neighbours son has just been diagnosed with leukemia and his family prepared for and celebrated Christmas away from their home in what they hope and pray won’t be their last with him.
My friend’s mother was fighting death in hospital and then the family spent the week before Christmas organizing her funeral and preparing themselves for a Christmas without her.
And aside from that there are hundreds of little stresses. Busy shops, problems at work, colds, tantrums, broken cars, bad sleeps, failed recipes, damaged toys, little hurts.
The truth is all of us live this life with the aches of pain, loss, fear and evilness. And all of us crave the peace, hope, love and Joy advertised at Christmas.
How can this Christmas, among all the pain of life, be Joy filled?
Good food, chocolate and nice gifts might be able to bring a little joy among the small trials of life for a short while. But why should it? When I know there is no gift, No gift, I can give that can in anyway bring joy to those burdened by great pains. I am hopeless within my own pain, and hopeless in the pain of my friends. And my heart aches.
Until I remember. There is one gift.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given
A gift. Given. To us. Jesus.
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
And at that time that he was born an angel appeared to the shepherds in the fields, just people living their life, like you and me like my friends. And the angel said.
Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Joy! This gift brings Joy- GREAT joy. Among the troubles of life and amongst the normalness of life we are given Joy. For all the people. For ALL people. For me, for you, for all those people suffering.
So the angel gave the shepherds that good news that would bring Joy.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you
A Saviour- for them. For us. A Saviour. And the angel explained further to make it clear to them, and to us.
He is the Messiah, the Lord.
Jesus, is the Lord, God, who made all the world. Who made you and me. And he’s the Messiah- our Saviour.
And only Jesus, Our Wonderful Counselor can comfort us and bring us Joy among the fires of this life.
And only Jesus, Our Mighty God, can overcome the overwhelming powers of evil in our life and bring us Joy in the face of destruction.
And only Jesus, Everlasting Father, can hold us close through the immeasurable pains of loosing our family and bring us Joy among the heartache.
And only Jesus, Prince of peace, can guide us as we travel on the uncertain walk of life and bring us peace and Joy instead of fear.
Only Jesus, our Saviour, can overcome the pain, loss, evilness and death in this world and give us Life. A forever life. A Life that nothing can take away.
And Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
And while the shepherds stood there with their sheep, their fear turned to joy as they listened to the angel explaining the gift of Jesus to them. Then all the angels sang Glory to God and the shepherds went to find Jesus, the baby, wrapped up and laying in a manger with Mary and Joseph. And the shepherds praised God and rejoiced in this gift that had been given to them and to all people.
And so this is the gift I share with you this Christmas. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord.
Accept Him as a gift for you. Make him and keep making him your Wonderful Counselor, your Mighty God, your Everlasting Father, your Prince of Peace, your Saviour and have Life and great Joy.