That's Why Christmas

Bethlehem Shop 2This year, we will have a Michigan Christmas with long-distance kids. Not exactly what I would have picked, but you know, even this change has good things wrapped inside of it because God is in this season and God is in our hearts. I know that wherever He leads and whatever He does, He will never leave us nor forsake us--we are not alone, no matter how it looks to a watching world. That's not true for everyone though, is it? The truth is, so many of us are lonely and hurting and wondering if God has forgotten how much we need Him. It's hard to watch cruelty and senseless violence or feel like our world is out of control. And on a personal level it is equally hard to feel our bodies failing, our lives growing less significant, our purpose in question to the point that we even wonder why we are here? What purpose is there for us when there is so little for us to do? So little life left to live?

CIMG0503I saw this often when I used to visit my dad in the nursing home. People sitting in chairs, staring into space, waiting for someone to visit, someone to love them--to care that they still existed.

And I would walk out of that place and pray, "Why, Lord?" It hurts to see humanity is such conditions. My father-in-law use to tell me, "Don't get old." And I would think, "Too late! I'm already headed there." But of course, the quip in response is, "Yes, but the alternative..." Most of us don't like to think that far.

But we should. Because the end of all things is near, according to Scripture. And Solomon in all of his wisdom said that it was better to go to a house of mourning than a house of feasting because the living would take it to heart. Wise men think ahead. Wise women ask the "why" questions. We want to know our purpose. We want to know that we are not here by accident, that there is something better, something other than just this.

Megiddo Feeding TroughWe want to know that life isn't just about growing up, getting married, having kids, watching the kids grow up, saying goodbye, and maybe getting to be part of the next generation, to leave a legacy, because even a legacy isn't enough. Christmas shows us that, doesn't it? We want to know that beyond this life we aren't just leaving memories for our kids to pass on to future generations until we are forgotten. We want to live on. God set eternity in our hearts. It's there. Can you not feel it?

The whole reason for Christmas was never about having the kids open gifts beneath the tree. It isn't even about the joy of being together as family, as much as that means to you and to me. The reason for Christmas has also been Christ. It's always been about the future, the final destination.

IMG_3584Jesus stepped into time to fix what was broken, to bridge a gap so wide we could not have crossed it in a thousand lifetimes, to bring us hope.

And for the joy set before Him, for the joy of having us with Him, to live with purpose on into eternity, fully alive, young or old,  for thisHe came as a newborn infant and made His bed in an animal's feeding trough. And He endured far more than we ever will so that He could promise to never leave us or forsake us. Even in a nursing home, even in separation or pain--we would never be alone--because we have Him. And one day He will escort us into eternity to be with Him forever. If we will just believe Him.

That's why Christmas. Though the trappings and the way we celebrate may change, the reason never does. It never should. Not if we know Him. Because He never changes. We can count on Him and find purpose and joy and a future in Him.

For unto you is born this day, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Messiah. Savior. Christ. Adonai. Elohim. Yeshua.