November 2, 2022
November 30, 2022 | Darrin Simpson
Christmas – It’s always an interesting topic.
For Christians, it’s a celebration. For hardcore Thanksgiving enthusiasts, it’s always too soon. For retailers, it’s big money. As you read this, what is Christmas to you?
I talked with a lady last week who lost her husband of 28 years. He passed away three years ago on the 25th of December. She was looking for hope in her hurt. Christmas hurts every time it comes around. She wants to be joyful, but it’s hard to hope in loss.
I talked with a young couple who recently married, and they are stressed. They are navigating how to be present in all family holiday expectations, on both sides, and are feeling the pressure.
I talked with a family just before Trunk or Treat who couldn’t wait until November 1st so they could start decorating for Christmas!
I talked with a young man who moved here from out of state. He has no one close in the area. Work requires him to be around for Christmas, but he spent last year alone. Christmas doesn’t really sit well with him simply because of the loneliness that comes with it.
I have many non-Christian friends who enjoy the time off from work and the family gatherings but could care less about some baby being born over 2000 years ago. They struggle to see Jesus for who He truly is.
Whether it be full of excitement, family dynamics, relationship struggles, hurts from the holidays, or missing the point entirely, we all approach Christmas differently. I love this because God did the same thing. Looking back on the history of the Old Testament, the Jews were constantly slaves of other nations, eagerly waiting on a Savior to come to rescue them. They wanted to be free from slavery, tyranny, and the agony that came from their oppressors. They waited in anticipation of this Savior that would physically make them the greatest nation again. But then, Jesus showed up as a baby, born of unique circumstances that didn’t fit the expectations of His people.
What does Christmas look like for you this year? Is there hope and excitement in the air, or are you struggling with hurt or stress? Is Christmas about gifts, family, and a house filling up with the delicious smells of a meal to come, or is it about trying to survive through another holiday season?
Maybe it’s one. Maybe it’s more than one. No matter where you land, I believe there are a couple of key components to Christmas that offer encouragement and can get us all to the same place.
- It is better to give than to receive. There are a thousand things that can be said here, but here are my snapshots of why. Giving is how God loves us. It creates moments of joy that didn’t exist before. It can actually help us live longer. Giving grows our social connections, it gives meaning, and it is contagious. Giving builds trust, it softens our hearts, and it allows us to see things differently. Giving generates contentment and it’s the right thing to do. We see a great example from the wise men as they made the journey to bring Jesus the gifts. So, I encourage you, to find ways to give of your time, talents, and resources and then watch what God can do!
- Christmas is centered around Hope. The birth of Jesus was the answer to thousands of years of waiting for a restored relationship with God. As Paul David Tripp says, “He didn’t just come to communicate God’s truth; He was God’s Truth.” We read scriptures like Isaiah 7:14, written 700 years before His birth, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.” Immanuel means “God with us.” Jesus brought hope. Jesus is hope. And because God is with us, we, too, can have that hope.
As I conclude, if you are struggling, this does not negate your hurt, pain, or sadness as we approach the holidays. I want you to know that you are loved and known. Jesus himself said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Whether it’s a conversation of light in our darkness, strength in our weakness, joy in our sadness, or hope when we lack, Christmas is a day of hope and celebration because God is with us! If you ever need help with this, reach out, we are here for you. We love you! Merry Christmas!
https://www.crossway.org/articles/3-reasons-jesus-is-our-only-hope/ - Paul David Tripp