As each of us reflect on the past year, I’m sure there is a wide range of emotions. Some may say that their year was the best yet. Others facing death of loved ones may argue it was a horrific year, and others falling somewhere in the middle may not feel either way about their past year.
I fall somewhere in the middle. This year started out with a very unexpected and preventable death of my sweet grandfather. It was followed by a very tumultuous few months of physical, emotional, and financial struggles for me because of complications of a broken foot. In the middle of it all I suffered a broken heart, but it was mended as I recommitted my life to my Lord and my Savior, Jesus Christ.
This is a time of year where each of us naturally begin reflection. We thank God for our blessings on Thanksgiving and through Christmas. As we get closer to the New Year we reflect over the past year and begin our resolutions for the upcoming new one (except, if you are like me, your resolutions will only take you through the first few days and then are broken one by one).
Paul really challenges in Romans. He writes in 5:3-5:
[…] We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (ESV).
It’s so difficult to have a thankful content heart amid the pain and suffering, but despite our circumstances and our struggles, we must not lose sight of the meaning and purpose of this day. Christmas day. It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialism and the glamour of the Holiday season that we forget the true meaning of what Christmas represents. Before the birth of Christ, each of us would have to atone by death for the sins we have committed through our lives. We are still held accountable for our actions and sinful nature here on Earth, but because God sent us his son, Jesus, into the world, He saved us by bringing the gift the gift of eternal life to us. John 3:16 tells us that this “is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
There are many rituals around this day, but the true meaning can not be lost. From wherever each of us are today, I challenge all of us (yes, myself included) to take a moment and forget all the noise surrounding Christmas. To say thank you to God. Thank him for all the blessings he’s bestowed upon you in your life, for all the trials you have suffered (or are still suffering) this year, and for the wonderful gift he gave us. We cannot thank him enough for His gift of eternal life in Heaven with Him, our King.
I pray that your day today is full of joy and blessings. I pray that despite the suffering or loneliness some of you may feel today, that you will take comfort in God’s promise, and His hope for an eternal life with Him in paradise where we will suffer pain and loss no more. I wish each of you a Merry Christmas! Just remember, you are loved very much by your King. Let Hime become your Christmas hope.