Christmas is the holy and sacred season of remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus. It’s a time to come close to the manger with fresh eyes to remember God’s great mercy. In boundless love, Jesus stepped down from the glory of heaven on our behalf.
Christmas reminds us that Jesus is our Prince of Peace. While there is much that is good in our world, the sad reality is that we sometimes experience chaos and struggle. Human tragedies, social injustices and painful experiences impact us all along with natural disasters, novel viruses and unexpected losses. Where can we turn for peace, a true peace that will hold us together through our doubt, confusion, fear and loss?
We are looking and longing for peace in our lives just as those in the Christmas story were. The shepherds, the wise men, all oppressed under Roman rule, even Joseph and Mary were all seeking peace as they awaited the coming of their prophesied Messiah and indeed, He came. The Prince of Peace made His entrance not as a dominating king but as an innocent baby. Jesus humbled himself to dwell among us for the purpose of rescuing the broken, the outcast, the unclean, the unholy, the defeated, the weary and all those desperately searching for a Savior who could give peace. Jesus promised His presence to us in the meaning of His name, Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Regardless of our circumstances, we can experience a peace that surpasses logical understanding because of the promise of Jesus’ presence with us. This promise fills us with encouragement as His presence helps us overcome all the things that try to overcome us. The words of our Savior echo even today, “I have said these things to you that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” Amidst the hurricanes, COVID variants, flood waters, ice storms and displacements, many have found peace to be in the person and presence of Jesus Christ. They have found Him to be an anchor that holds in times of trouble.
During the Christmas season we remember the magnitude of God’s love expressed in the arrival of Jesus that first Christmas. Love descended from heaven to be born of a virgin. Love lay in the scratchy hay of a manger in a meager stable in Bethlehem. The love of God was robed in the delicate skin of a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. Beneath the stars, surrounded by the hosts of heaven, Love came. Welcomed by an earthly mother and father along with shepherds and wise men, love came. That same love would ultimately be given sacrificially upon a cross to cover the sins of all mankind, including yours and mine. Christmas reminds us that love still comes for us all.
As we pause to reflect on that first Christmas story, may the breath of heaven gently restore any lost hope. Hope can be rekindled in our hearts just as smoldering embers can be rekindled into a warm fire. Hope confidently expects the fulfillment of what God has promised. As generations witnessed God’s faithfulness to bring Jesus into the world, we can be assured today that His faithfulness can bring us a fresh encounter with the most beautiful love story ever written. This love story was birthed from a Father’s heart, cradled in a manger, demonstrated on a cross and culminated with an empty tomb. May “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” be yours as you experience
Sharon Ardizzone is the worship arts and restoration minister at CrossRoads Church in Moss Bluff.