Christmas brings beauty to this season but for many, it brings an overtone of pain. It is a time of year when the loss of loved ones is felt deep within the soul. Memories are rekindled as celebrations continue on as normal, but are also very much not as normal for many. It is a time when success is measured, both in your home and career and also in how we have met our goals in the previous years.
As our lives grow darker and darker, our souls respond. We feel the weight of the season and the burden of the expectations of society. We smile, we put our heart into the jolliness but, for many, we are waiting for the season to pass by so we can stop pretending that every hall is decked with boughs of holly.
We approach Christmas as if we are whole-hearted instead of allowing it to meet our broken hearts. We try to present a healed person to those around us without ever acknowledging that there was a wound that needed healing.
Our Heavenly Father saw our brokenness.
He saw the empty pieces that we carried as our life took it on as His cause. He came took on our humanity, and spent His life and blood for our restoration. Our pain, our confusion, our desperation, He took it as His own.
Christmas is here because we needed a Christmas cure. Our brokenness isn’t something to stifle while we attempt to embrace the Christmas spirit. Christ was born because we are incapable of fixing the mess around us alone. Our grief is too great to bear. The loss brought on by a world full of sin is insurmountable in our own power. So we have not been left to do it in our own power.
Jesus is here to bind up our broken hearts. He is here to free us from the bondage of sin. But we need to acknowledge the mess our lives our in if we’re going to reach out and embrace the cure. Because Jesus may not be standing here in the same flesh that breathed on that first Christmas, but He is alive and the Holy Spirit of God is amongst us, in our very midst, carrying on His work.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.” -Isaiah 61:1-4, esv
The promise spoken to Isaiah was fulfilled in Christ. In Luke 4, He announced Himself as the one anointed to bind our hearts, to set us free. But as always, the tension of the “already, not yet,” is highlighted in this season.
I hear Christ’s words. The Holy Spirit has come, the Lord has paid for the sufficiency of our sin with His Blood, and He has risen from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. I have seen His works and we believe His promises, but I am in a state of wandering through a wilderness where I am dependent on emotional manna from up above. Day by day, I go to bed, seeing the brokenness in my heart and around me and I have to rely on Christ’s all-sufficient blood to salve my soul again in the morning when I wake up.
The promise of Christmas is not that I will no longer have pain but that Christ will be there, with me, not only binding my wounds, but redeeming it into something beautiful. Each and every scar on my life is being woven into a tale of His faithfulness.
When we are done with the season and ready to shut into ourselves and pretend the world is okay for weariness of knowing it is not, we need Christmas. We need to look to the manger and see the infant King who abandoned heaven to reach into our lives because He knew that we were very much so not okay, and He wanted to fix it.
Just as God walked with Adam and Eve before the Fall of Mankind, so Christ invites us into an intimate friendship. He brings us to Himself in dear friendship. Soul-sharing, burden-carrying friendship. He cares so much that He dwelt among us to reveal His beauty and begin the restoration of all that has been lost. May our Christmas gatherings be a foretaste of the beautiful restoration of all that Christ’s birth triggered.