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Healing Hope and the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us. As I drive around to take the kids to school, or go to work, I enjoy all of the Christmas wreaths, the multi-colored lights on the lawns, and the holiday melodies playing on the radio. We went out and purchased a “real” tree the other day; my greatest joy was watching my children decorate it. I’ve always been a sucker for Christmas, Santa Claus, and all of the goodies that come with “the most wonderful time of the year.” But as I have grown in my walk as a person of faith, I have come to reflect more and more on the true meaning of this time, the real reason for the season: Jesus.

Christmas is the moment when his followers are called to celebrate his birth – humble as it was – and the gift that it gave to the world. Jesus was born under suspicious circumstances (his mother was a virgin) and under less than ideal conditions (no room at the inn, so let’s try a manger with the animals!). He was born into a world not much unlike our own: a world where the 1% control most of the wealth and power, and the 99% struggle to overcome the obstacles of inequity; a world where a single empire (in their case the Romans, in our case America) laid claim to much of the civilized community while struggling to keep its own house in order; a world where people were dealing with grief, dealing with loss, trying to make it from day-to-day, and making their every best effort to build a decent life for their families.

Jesus was born into a world that needed healing. There were many walking wounded in first century Israel, and there are many walking wounded in twenty-first century America. Some were wounded in their bodies, and some were wounded in their hearts; some were struggling to walk physically, and others were striving to recover spiritually. What Jesus offered all of them – and what his birth offers all of us – is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole, a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul. What Jesus offers is the hope that everyone – even those of humble beginnings like his peasant wife – can be the bearers of good news, can be instruments of the Lord, and can be part of making a difference in this world.

There is healing and hope for the holidays because Jesus Christ is born. There is a reason to believe that your circumstances now don’t have to determine your outcome later; there is a reason to rejoice and give praise to God for the greatest gift of all. There is a reason for the season, and his name is Jesus!

Lord, inspire in us a spirit of gratitude and thanks as we move through this Christmas time. Inspire in us a spirit of hope and help us to receive the healing that comes with your son Jesus. Focus us in on what matters most, and be with us during this special time.

 

Prayer focus for the week: those who are hurting during the holidays.

Posted in Pastor's Blog.


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