This is my special Christmas blog. My hope for you is that this year God will give you a new insight into the amazing coming of Christ. God wants to do a new thing in each of our lives. I encourage you to study the passages mentioned below in Hebrews.
It’s easy to let Christmas become about families, about the gift of a child being born in a manager, about celebrating in a myriad of ways. But there is always more to this special event than meets the eye. Sometimes we need to ask God to open our eyes and show us fresh things about this incredible day — things we may not have considered before.
Several years ago He opened my eyes to see Christmas Eve in a different light.
It was our first Christmas as truly “empty nesters.” Our youngest, the twins, had both married the previous summer and for this particular Christmas, all 5 of our kids were going to be with their in-law families for the holidays.
I grew up in a large family and married into one as well so I had never been alone for Christmas. For me, Christmas meant being surrounded by lots of people and lots of love. However this year, we would be alone for the first time.
An acquaintance said to me, “Oh Susan you and John can have a romantic time, just the two of you together.” I don’t think she realized my husband was a pastor of a very large church and Christmas is not a quiet, romantic time of “roasting chestnuts by an open fire” for ministry families. Instead, it’s a time when people’s lives fall apart, you are overbooked with preparations and emergencies and your husband is most likely grumpy because his sermon isn’t ready.
As Christmas Eve approached, I was sad. I knew John would be gone most of the day and arrive home about 2am exhausted and fall into bed. Friends asked me over but I felt I wanted to be alone with the Lord. After attending one of our Christmas Eve services, I wrapped myself in a blanket and with my cup of tea and Bible and I curled up all alone on the couch in front of a lovely tree twinkling with white lights.
Once again I turned to 2 of my favorite passages — Hebrews 2 and Hebrews 4. These passages are similar. They remind us that Jesus Christ has experienced everything that we have yet without sin. It is because of this that we can draw near with confidence to find help in our times of need. (Hebrews 2:17-18 & 4:15-16) For many years I have gone to these passages asking for insight into things I was experiencing. Tonight I whispered, “Ok Lord where did you experience the empty nest? How can you know what I’m feeling?”
And then it hit me.
While we were celebrating the birth of our Savior in a manger, God was grieving the loss of 24/7 companionship with His only son with whom He had created the universe.
In emptying my nest, I was sending my children off to good things. He, on the other hand, was sending His son into a world where he would be rejected, persecuted, spit upon, mocked, and ultimately crucified. And He was choosing to do this. Oh my. For the first time, I thought about what Christmas Eve must have been like for our father God. How painful, how hard. His was a chosen pain wrapped in the greatest love ever given.
Out of His pain was to come the sacrifice for our sins. Forgiveness. For our heavenly Father, the birth of His son in a cradle would culminate in death on the cross. His was a journey from the Cradle to the Cross.
Since that night, I have never looked at Christmas Eve in quite the same way. Now I contemplate its cost.
Father, give to each of us eyes to see something new in this Holy season. Reveal yourself to us in fresh ways and may we love you more than we ever have before. Thank you for your precious Son.
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