Over two thousand years ago, unto us a child was born. His parents named him Jesus. He was born in the lowest of circumstances to a blue-collar step-father and a teenaged mother. Throughout his life, he would experience pain, pleasure, joy, fear, stress, hurt, heartache and love, just like we do. He would have friends who would betray him, a family who openly feared he was crazy. There were always more needs to meet than time to meet them. He had to juggle competing priorities, strong personalities and a corrupt system. He was constantly under attack. Oh, yeah. And he had to lay a game-changing foundation that would transform the entire destiny of the human race in the midst of all of this in just three short years.
In a year like we’ve had, I’ve needed to remember that there is literally nothing I’m going through to which Jesus can’t relate. The words of the apostle Paul leap off the page to me when he says, “Let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help” (Hebrews 4:14-16 MSG).
This Christmas, when for many of us everything is so different, I find it’s especially important for me to walk right up to Jesus and ask for help. To remember it’s not the feasts, the family, the gifts or the parties that matter. As wonderful as those blessings are, the real meaning of Christmas is that a baby was born to save the world. To save me. To save you. His name was Jesus. He is the best friend/confidante/partner/parent/leader/lord/savior you could ever, ever ask for. He gets you, as in really gets you. His heart is for you, not against you (Romans 8:31). He came to be your blessing. Ask for his help to deeply own this truth in your life!
Yes, our world is broken, fractured. It constantly tries to define, categorize, and separate us in every way it can, minimizing our worth. Jesus is the voice of truth, the real magic of Christmas, a light shining in the darkness that reminds us of our infinite worth. Remember his words: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Covid doesn’t define us. Politics doesn’t define us. Our checkbooks don’t define us. We are defined by a father who says we’re worth everything. He gave us the very best he could give in the life of his son. Why? So you and I could experience peace and freedom. Redemption and love. And in doing so, no longer defining ourselves by our circumstances, but by the Cross. That is why we celebrate Christmas.
This year, even if you find yourself in isolation with nothing underneath the tree, celebrate a God who celebrates you. Who constantly fights on your behalf. In that space, may the joy and magic of Christmas flow.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT It’s okay to acknowledge and even grieve for the differences in Christmas this year. But don’t forget to also take hold of the incredible joy, the miraculous gift the Lord gave us in Jesus Christ. Consider focusing your attention on the many blessings that are all around you. Write them out even. Post them around your home. Remember the prophet Isaiah’s wise words, “Instead of a garment of despair, put on a garment of praise” (Isaiah 61:3). Praise chases away despair. Make space to actively praise Abba God this Christmas, defining yourself by his definition versus your circumstances.
PRAYER My prayer is from your word, Papa. “Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.” I say to you, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I set you before me and because you are at my right hand, I will not be shaken. You have promised to keep me, to make me a part of your people. You call me out of the world and say, “Be free!” Praise you for the incredible gift of Jesus, for the humble way in which he entered this world and all that shows me about what you value. May my heart and my life be a fragrant offering of gratitude, a sweet incense that floats before your throne. Would you help me to praise you no matter how big the storm is I may find myself in, remembering your great mercy. Thank you, thank you, thank you for Jesus!!! Praise you, Papa. Amen. (Based on Psalms 16, 18 and Isaiah 49).
To learn more about author & motivational speaker Barb Lownsbury or to have her speak at your next event, CLICK HERE.
#truth #joy #thedentedfender #barblownsbury #inspirationalspeaker #biblestudy #devotional #encouragement #faith #overcomer #babyjesus #yougotthis #thankful #grateful #overcomer #spiritualwarfare #journey #identity #childofGod #Jesus #God #depression #tryagain #neverquit #Christmas #hope