It’s been “Christmas time” for over a month, at least according to what I’ve been hearing on the radio. It seems like places put up Christmas decorations earlier with every passing year. The lights appear one by one all around the neighborhood, sales are rampant all over the internet– quite delightful actually, but they can also become a little too overwhelming. It seems the media just wants to capitalize on the holiday season to draw in attention and money. It’s easy for me to take on a cynical stance and criticize the consumer-driven holiday season… but maybe… just maybe this world needs Christmas more than I realize.
Tragedies like the Connecticut shooting or even Hurricane Sandy often leave people with little to be cheerful about. But circumstances such as these only scream out our need for a savior… for peace and hope on earth.
The good news is that circumstances don’t change the character of God. In fact, all throughout history it seems as if God delights in showing up in the moments where chaos and fear are most prevalent.
Jesus entering into chaos. Right into the middle of our need. God didn’t wait for the world to solve all the problems or put the pieces back together. He didn’t wait for everyone to be ready, nor did he ask for a grand ceremony. He simply came.
Jesus is as every bit as alive today as he was when he first let out a cry in his humble manger.
I see it in every Christmas light wrapped around Christmas trees all over the streets – a symbol of the presence of everlasting hope breaking into the darkest night. I see it in the bustling malls and every present wrapped under a tree – a reflection of the greatest gift of all. I see it in Christmas banquets, reunions and parties that bring together and reconnect people as differences become secondary – the birth of Jesus was the single greatest act of reconciliation in history. And it still amazes me how people all over the world are singing Christmas carols, which are basically worship songs that reflect God’s love for this world.
I believe that Jesus really loves this world. More than any of us ever could. I believe that God is sovereign and that he holds everything together, even in the darkest of times. I believe that in the name of Jesus there is peace and hope beyond understanding.
He is near. And everything is different because he is near.