Oh, there are so many emotions happening in my heart this Christmas season! First of all, complete gratitude to God that our Christmas looks so different than years past. I can’t help but pinch myself in awe that we finally have the family we prayed for. Instead of longing, there is a fullness that leaves me humbled and grateful. Thank you Lord!
I also can’t help but empathize with so many of our dear friends and loved ones whose hearts are not filled with fullness this year. Who lost a child this year, or in years past, and it leaves their hearts raw and aching. Who experienced failed cycles and whose test results left them in tears. The friends who see the commercials with pregnancy announcements and cringe, wishing it was them announcing news this holiday season, instead of hiding in the bathroom to avoid the questions. Maybe that person is you. Please know you are not forgotten.
Christmas centers on celebrating the birth of Christ Jesus. It starts a new chapter. The waiting and longing the world experienced was answered in a single birth. Jesus came. He was born, a helpless baby, a human child. The waiting paid off. Hope was here.
Maybe your hope feels lost this Christmas. You have spent the year disappointed. Your heart is filled with sorrow and your emotions have been stolen by tears and wrecked with discouragement. You don’t feel merry. You want to fast forward through the lights, the carols, the gifts, and the brutally cheerful Facebook feed. How can you cling to hope when you are still praying for your answers to prayer to come? Or maybe you are just angry. Angry that God would allow that to happen to you.
I imagine how lost the world felt between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Did you know there were 400 years of silence between those two testaments. One single blank page in the Bible. 400 years. And then, springs forth this reminder that God can do anything.
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son …”
A virgin birth doesn’t make sense. It is indeed impossible to have no biological birth father. And yet …
And why did it take 400 years for God to start the story of Jesus? This we may never understand, but God does. And He chose Mary, at the right time. He had a reason and the miracle conception of Christ Jesus our Lord occurred.
“…and they shall call His name Immanuel, which means, God with us.”
God is with us. God is with you. Whatever you are facing this Christmas season, whether it’s an ongoing divorce, cancer battle, marital struggle, or infertility, God is with you. You don’t have to face the night and sorrow alone. Sometimes it feels like you are stuck in the 400 year gap of silence. I know, I have been there, standing in those shoes, wondering where in the world God is.. If you are in a season of silence right now, I understand. I understand how frustrated you are. I understand when people talk about hearing Him, or being answered by Him or being filled with peace because of Him, it makes you feel angry because you are doing everything you can and you don’t have that. I tell you this because I know the tears you are crying, the weariness you feel, the how draining the questions you are asking are. I tell you this because I want you to keep going. Even when it feels pointless. Even when you feel like He isn’t real. Even when you open up your Bible and you can’t seem to understand where this loving, kind, merciful God you are reading about is in your life. Keep going. Day after day. Keep praying. Because friends, I am certain, beyond a shadow of doubt, that in the moments I felt the most alone, looking back, He was holding me the whole time. He is worth fighting for.
Having faith in an invisible God isn’t easy. But Christmas is a reminder that our invisible God was made visible in the form of Jesus. And yes, Christmas may look different that what you had hoped this year. But I pray that you can dig deep, and even just for a moment, celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ birth, and be encouraged knowing that “with God, nothing is impossible.” (Luke 1:37) Your situation isn’t hopeless.
Believe that His faithfulness will endure time. That His Word is true. That He care deeply for you and situations you are facing today. He sees your tears. He knows when you feel forgotten. He knows when you worry that you will never move past “this” season. Rest in the promise that He is with you – He is our Immanuel.
When I miscarried our first child on Christmas day 5 years ago, I never thought this Christmas would come. I assumed all Christmas’s would be marked with grief, that hope was lost, that the sorrow would never end. But this year, we are celebrating His faithfulness. And it’s humbling and even better than I ever could have imagined.
If you are stuck in the sorrow, know its okay to grieve, but don’t get caught grieving as those without hope. He came, He conquered death, He broke the barrier to sin and He will come again. Because He hears your prayers, sits with you as you cry, collects your tears, and loves you so much. You are seen. Jesus, our Immanuel, is with you.
Merry Christmas friends!