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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! A time when everyone is always happy and life is perfect and people are always singing songs…or maybe not. While we tend to focus on the jolly and joyful, actually Christmas is about pain and hope.
There’s always someone who is hurting or needing. Those things don’t go away just cause it’s Christmas. Maybe someone’s bank accounts are as empty as their Christmas tree. Or perhaps there’s a family member fighting some illness. Christmas is about them too.
Pain is why He came. We have hope because He came.
Jesus was born was a result of the fall, a result of the pain incurred by the fall. The pain of needing or illness or emotional pain. That kind of pain entered the world when humans sinned. And the only cure was to send the Savior. Pain and hope.
I’m as guilty as the next person of dismissing the fact that Christmas isn’t the happiest time of year for everyone. It doesn’t fit with the vibe. There’s no Christmas song for “life is majorly sucking right now”. But I think we can learn something from allowing ourselves to sit and acknowledge these things.
Before Jesus was born, the Jews had been oppressed by various other people groups. They desperately waited for a Messiah. Someone to deliver them, like Moses had helped deliver their ancestors. They wanted someone to free them from their pain and hope of Messiah kept them going. One of the reasons I love reading the AD Chronicles (I talk more about them here) or watching The Nativity Story is they both realistically depict what life might have been like under Roman rule.
You can feel the desperate anticipation of the Jewish people. And while Messiah didn’t come like they expected or hoped, He did come. And He came to free us all from the effects of sin- the pain, the sadness, the sickness. I mean, while we live on earth, these things will still exist. It’s just part of the fall. Pain and hope.
There is hope.
Even while we’re on earth, even while we can’t always escape pain or sickness, we have hope. Because He was born and lived and died, we have hope. We have hope that when we enter a relationship with Him, He heals our pain. He heals our sickness. Maybe not on earth. Maybe not when we want Him to. But He does.
Christmas is the time when that pain and hope collide. When the pain of Mary’s labor gave way to the joy and hope that a new Baby brings. The pain of the reality of life on earth is mitigated by the hope that Jesus’ birth brings.
When we sit with the heavy things, we can better appreciate the lighter things. Pain and hope- we more fully appreciate the hope when we have acknowledged the pain.
This Christmas, may you be blessed with hope. If you are currently in pain, may you be able to grasp the hope that Christmas brings. And may the birth of Jesus heal you in ways you never thought possible.