“The Lord is near the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
Christmas is supposed to be a time for joy and celebrating the birth of Jesus. You are supposed to be excited to gather with family and friends, eat too much, make merry, and complain about year 2020 (oh, and don’t forget your mask.) You are expected to bury grief, anger, sorrow and whatever other negative emotions are churning within you and “be happy” for the rest of the week. You understand the notion of counting your blessings, focusing on gratitude, and you’re trying to do that. But my heart breaks for those who are struggling. Many of us have been vulnerable and honest about the reality that this particular Christmas – Christmas 2020 – is just hard. The pandemic has created so many unexpected challenges and hardships. Not all of you can afford gifts for your kids, or even your next meal. You grieve the loss of your loved ones, missing them terribly, trying to figure out a new normal. You are yearning for touch and hugs when everyone else is trying to do the “safe thing” during this mask wearing “social distancing” season of life. Depression is knocking on your door. My heart breaks, too, for personal reasons, but I know that God sees and holds all of our tears. We pray for healing.
God stepped down from heaven to become vulnerable with us. Yes, you and me. You can’t get much more personal than a wiggly mass of flesh crying for milk every 2-4 hours around the clock. This baby would eventually grow up to experience his own heartbreak and pain. He sees you and He knows. God chose to lower Himself into our sinful mess to bring hope, healing, harmony and the full presence of wholeness and love. Even better yet, God doesn’t need an N95 mask, face shield or to be “socially distanced” from you or me this Christmas. He is spreading hope and healing and harmony by breathing into us His droplets of life and energy. He is Aslan, his breath breaking through the stone inflicted by the White Witch of Narnia, restoring us to our original state of beauty and perfection. He’s “safe.” He has been holding you in a hug all year long. That’s the best news ever. Did you know that? So embrace Him.
Begin your own journey this year and seek Him, just as the wise men did. No need for a mask, hand sanitizer, temperature checks or reserving your spot online to ensure for social distancing here at the manger. No need to be afraid. Viruses and all other illnesses vanish in the presence of God. It’s safe. Feel your stones of grief, sorrow and frustration melt away with the breath of the Holy Spirit. Breathe deeply now. God has been vulnerable with us, and now He invites us to be vulnerable with Him as we seek hope, healing, harmony and the full presence of wholeness and love. Merry Christmas, dear ones. I’m giving all of you hugs and expect to read more encouragement from me in 202.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you that you are near the broken-hearted and crushed in spirit. Fill us with the desire to seek and embrace you, wrap us in your love and open our eyes to the reality of presence among us now as we celebrate the birth of your son, Jesus. Amen.